President Donald J. Trump and US-Asia Pacific Relations

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Coordinator: Sarah Wang. For methodology, click here.

This resource will track statements, developments, visits and other interactions in US-Asia Pacific relations given or undertaken by President Donald J. Trump.

To view quotations, debriefs of interactions with Asia Pacific leaders, and media sorted by topic, scroll down or use the links below.

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries Asia Pacific Leaders Asia Pacific Allies & Partners
China/Taiwan Human Rights & Democracy North Korea
South China Sea Southeast Asia/ASEAN Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN
Trade & Investment    

To view the positions of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Ross, and Secretary of State Tillerson on various issues in US-Asia Pacific relations, click here.

To view quotations, interviews, and policy documents given by and interactions with Asia Pacific leaders undertaken by Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Ross, and Secretary of State Tillerson use the links below.

Vice President Mike Pence Secretary of Defense James Mattis Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson    

To examine Asian reactions to ongoing developments in US-Asia relations and the US 2016 Presidential election, click here.

To explore previous quotations, views on Asia Pacific issues, and other connections to Asia from President Trump, Vice President  Pence, and other candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election, click here. 

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries 

Has not yet traveled to the Asia Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Leaders

  • On April 24, 2017, President Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone to reaffirm both sides' commitment to working together to achieve denuclearization in North Korea. 
  • On April 24, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone to address issues of mutual concern
  • On April 9, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone on recent developments in Syria and to thank Japan for its support of the recent US strikes
  • On April 8, 2017, President Trump spoke with Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-Ahn on recent developments in Syria and to thank South Korea for its support of the recent US strikes. 
  • From April 6-7, 2017, President Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to discuss US-China relations, including areas of cooperation and issues of mutual concern. 
  • On April 5, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone to discuss the necessity of maintaining a strong bilateral relationship to counter North Korean aggression. 
  • In late March 2017 President Trump wrote Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang a letter "affirming his wishes to promote cooperation on economics, trade, regional and international issues" with Vietnam. 
  • On March 28, 2017, President Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone to discuss India's recent state-level elections and their upcoming meeting later in the year. 
  • On March 6, 2017, President Trump spoke with both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn in separate phone calls to address the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea. President Trump agreed that close bilateral and trilateral ties were necessary to counter the North Korean threat. 
  • On February 10, 2017, President Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House and his resort in Mar-a Lago, Florida. During their discussion they reaffirmed security commitments and agreed to continue strengthening US-Japan economic ties.
  • On February 9, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which he agreed to honor the "One China" policy. Following the phone call, President Trump tweeted the following:
  • On February 5, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English to discuss the US-New Zealand alliance. 
  • On January 29, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn to discuss US-South Korea relations. 
  • On January 28, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the US-Japan alliance and finalize their in-person meeting on February 10, 2017.  
  • phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the US-Australia alliance.
  • On January 24, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which they discussed opportunities for strengthening US-India relations in the years ahead. 

Asia Pacific Allies & Partners

  • On April 24, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone to address issues of mutual concern
  • On April 9, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone on recent developments in Syria and to thank Japan for its support of the recent US strikes
  • On April 8, 2017, President Trump spoke with Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-Ahn on recent developments in Syria and to thank South Korea for its support of the recent US strikes. 
  • From April 6-7, 2017, President Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to discuss US-China relations, including areas of cooperation and issues of mutual concern. 
  • On April 5, 2017, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone to discuss the necessity of maintaining a strong bilateral relationship to counter North Korean aggression. 
  • In late March 2017 President Trump wrote Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang a letter "affirming his wishes to promote cooperation on economics, trade, regional and international issues" with Vietnam. 
  • On March 28, 2017, President Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone to discuss India's recent state-level elections and their upcoming meeting later in the year. 
  • On March 6, 2017, President Trump spoke with both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn in separate phone calls to address the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea. President Trump agreed that close bilateral and trilateral ties were necessary to counter the North Korean threat. 
  • [When asked about accelerating missile defense systems for Japan and South Korea] "There's talks of a lot more than that. We’ll see what happens. But it’s a very dangerous situation, and China can end it very quickly in my opinion. ... It’s one of many things that can be done. Missile defense is one of many things that can be done.” [Source] Interview with Reuters. February 24, 2017
  •  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House and his resort in Mar-a Lago, Florida. During their discussion they reaffirmed security commitments and agreed to continue strengthening US-Japan economic ties.
  • "If they're going to charge tax to our countries-if as an example, we sell a car into Japan and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan...It's not fair." [Source] White House conference with business leaders. January 23, 2017

To view the short interview this tweet refers to, click here.

China/Taiwan

  • On April 24, 2017, President Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone to reaffirm both sides' commitment to working together to achieve denuclearization in North Korea. 
  • "He [Chinese President Xi Jinping] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years …and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that not — it’s not so easy. You know I felt pretty strongly that they have — that they had a tremendous power over China. I actually do think they do have an economic power, and they have certainly a border power to an extent, but they also — a lot of goods come in. But it’s not what you would think. It’s not what you would think." [SourceWSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "We have tremendous trade deficits with everybody, but the big one is with China. It’s hundreds of billions of dollars of year for many many years. And I told them. I said you know, we’re not going to let that go ahead. Now, I did say — but you want to make a great deal? Solve the problem in North Korea. That’s worth having deficits. And that’s worth having not as good a trade deal as I would normally be able to make. OK, I’ll make great deals." [SourceWSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "'They're [China] not currency manipulators.'" [SourceTrump Says Dollar 'Getting Too Strong,' Won't Label China a Currency Manipulator. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • From April 6-7, 2017, President Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to discuss US-China relations, including areas of cooperation and issues of mutual concern. 
  • "Yes, we [President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping] will talk about North Korea. And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.[...] Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." [Source] Interview with Financial Times. April 2, 2017
  • "I have great respect for him [Chinese President Xi Jinping]. I have great respect for China. I would not be at all surprised if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries and I hope so.[...] we cannot continue to trade if we are going to have an unfair deal like we have right now. This is an unfair deal." [Source] Interview with Financial Times. April 2, 2017
  • "[W]e’ve lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001." [Source] Address to Joint Session of Congress. February 28, 2017
  • "Many things took place that should not have been allowed. One of them is the building of a massive, you know, massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea [by China]. And don't forget I've only been here for four weeks. This is something that took place and has been started three years ago and you were in a much better negotiating position three years ago. I am not happy about it." [Source] Interview with Reuters. February 24, 2017
  • " And 70,000 factories closed since China joined the WTO -- 70,000 factories.  So when I used to give that statistic, I used to talk about and I always thought it was a typo.  I said, it has to be a typo.  I tell Wilbur -- Wilbur, that can't be right -- 70,000.  Think of it, 70,000 factories.  So you say, what are we doing?  My administration's policies and regulatory reform, tax reform, trade policies will return significant manufacturing jobs to our country.  Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back, the good jobs, the real jobs.  They've left, and they're coming back.  They have to come back." [Source] Meeting with Manufacturing CEOs at the White House. February 23, 2017
  • "With China, we have close to a $500-billion trade deficit.  So we have to do something.  I spoke to the President, I spoke to many people.  We’re going to work on that very, very hard, and we’re going to do things that are the proper things to do." [Source] Meeting with Manufacturing CEOs at the White House. February 23, 2017
  • On February 9, 2017, President Trump had a short phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which he agreed to honor the "One China" policy. 
  • "If you want to take a plant or you want to do something, you want to sell something into China and other countries, it's very, very hard. In some cases, it's impossible. They won't even take your product." [Source] White House conference with business leaders. January 23, 2017
  • "We have hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on a yearly basis -- hundreds of billions with China on trade and trade imbalance, with Japan, with Mexico, with just about everybody." [Source] News Conference. January 11, 2017
  • "As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. And I -- I can say that you know when -- when we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn't make a big deal out of that. That was something that was extraordinary. That was probably China. [...] We have to work something out, but it's not just Russia. Take a look at what's happened. You don't report it the same way; 22 million accounts were hacked in this country by China. And that's because we have no defense. That's because we're run by people that don't know what they're doing." [Source] News Conference. January 11, 2017
  • "But Russia and other countries -- and other countries, including China, which has taken total advantage of us economically, totally advantage of us in the South China Sea by building their massive fortress, total." [Source] News Conference. January 11, 2017
  • On January 10, 2017 President-elect Trump met with China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma, who met with the President-elect to discuss adding a million US businesses to Alibaba's e-commerce platform. [Source] Kathy Chu. Wall Street Journal. January 10, 2017

To read about China's response to President-elect Trump's tweets and for further background on the issue, click here

  • "I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy, unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade. I mean, look, we are being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea which they shouldn't be doing, and, frankly, with not helping us at all with North Korea. You have North Korea, you have nuclear weapons and China could solve that problem and they are not helping us at all. So, I don't want China dictating to me. And this was a call [with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that was] put in to me, I didn't make the call, and it was a call, very short call, saying 'Congratulations sir on the victory.' It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call. I think it actually would've been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it." [Source] Interview with Fox News. December 11, 2016
  • One of the most important relationships we must improve, and we have to improve, is our relationship with China. The nation of China is responsible for almost half of America’s trade deficit. China is not a market economy, they get a lot of help, and that’s why we designate them as being a non-market economy. Big thing. They haven’t played by the rules and I know it’s time that they are going to start. We’re all in this thing together folks, we gotta play by the rules folks. You have the massive theft of intellectual property, putting unfair taxes on our companies, not helping with the menace of North Korea like they should, and the at-will and massive devaluation of their currency and product dumping. Other than that they’ve been wonderful right?” [Source] 2016 Trump Thank You Tour Stop in Iowa. December 8, 2016

Human Rights & Democracy

North Korea

  • "He [Chinese President Xi Jinping] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years …and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that not — it’s not so easy. You know I felt pretty strongly that they have — that they had a tremendous power over China. I actually do think they do have an economic power, and they have certainly a border power to an extent, but they also — a lot of goods come in. But it’s not what you would think. It’s not what you would think." [SourceWSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "We have tremendous trade deficits with everybody, but the big one is with China. It’s hundreds of billions of dollars of year for many many years. And I told them. I said you know, we’re not going to let that go ahead. Now, I did say — but you want to make a great deal? Solve the problem in North Korea. That’s worth having deficits. And that’s worth having not as good a trade deal as I would normally be able to make. OK, I’ll make great deals." [SourceWSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "You cannot allow a country like that [North Korea]  to have nuclear power, nuclear weapons. That’s mass destruction. And he doesn’t have the delivery systems yet, but he — you know he will." [Source] WSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "Yes, we [President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping] will talk about North Korea. And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.[...] Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." [Source] Interview with Financial Times. April 2, 2017
  • [When asked if he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] “I guess ... I would never say no. It may be very late. It’s very late in the picture right now. ... We’re very angry at what he’s done, and frankly this should have been taken care of during the Obama administration.” [Source] February 24, 2017
  • [When asked about North Korea's missile program] “It’s very dangerous and something should have been done about it years ago. It’s very dangerous and very unacceptable. ... And very unfair to Japan.” [Source] February 24, 2017
  • On February 13, 2017, President Trump condemned North Korea's launch of a ballasitc missile over the weekend, stating that the United States will deal with North Korea "very strongly." [Source] Margaret Talev, Jennifer Jacobs, and Kanga Kong. Bloomberg. February 13, 2017

President-elect Trump's statement is in reference to remarks given by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his New Year's speech which stated that North Korea is in the "last stage" of preparations for the test of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

  • "I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy, unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade. I mean, look, we are being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea which they shouldn't be doing, and, frankly, with not helping us at all with North Korea. You have North Korea, you have nuclear weapons and China could solve that problem and they are not helping us at all. So, I don't want China dictating to me." [SourceInterview with Fox News. December 11, 2016

South China Sea

  • "Many things took place that should not have been allowed. One of them is the building of a massive, you know, massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea [by China]. And don't forget I've only been here for four weeks. This is something that took place and has been started three years ago and you were in a much better negotiating position three years ago. I am not happy about it." [Source] Interview with Reuters. February 24, 2017
  • "But Russia and other countries -- and other countries, including China, which has taken total advantage of us economically, totally advantage of us in the South China Sea by building their massive fortress, total." [Source] News Conference. January 11, 2017

Southeast Asia/ASEAN

  • According to Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, during his congratulatory phone call with President-elect Trump, Mr. Trump stated that President Duterte was handling his controversial war on drugs in the Philippines "the right" way. President Duterte also stated that President-elect Trump extended an invitation to him to visit the United States next year. [Source] CNN. December 3, 2016

*As of this date the Trump administration's transition team has not commented on the validity of President Duterte's description of the phone call between himself and President-elect Trump.*

Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN

 

Trade & Investment

  • "'They're [China] not currency manipulators.'" [SourceTrump Says Dollar 'Getting Too Strong,' Won't Label China a Currency Manipulator. Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2017
  • "And 70,000 factories closed since China joined the WTO -- 70,000 factories.  So when I used to give that statistic, I used to talk about and I always thought it was a typo.  I said, it has to be a typo.  I tell Wilbur -- Wilbur, that can't be right -- 70,000.  Think of it, 70,000 factories.  So you say, what are we doing?  My administration's policies and regulatory reform, tax reform, trade policies will return significant manufacturing jobs to our country.  Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back, the good jobs, the real jobs.  They've left, and they're coming back.  They have to come back." [Source] Meeting with Manufacturing CEOs at the White House. February 23, 2017
  • "With China, we have close to a $500-billion trade deficit.  So we have to do something.  I spoke to the President, I spoke to many people.  We’re going to work on that very, very hard, and we’re going to do things that are the proper things to do." [Source] Meeting with Manufacturing CEOs at the White House. February 23, 2017
  • On February 10, 2017, President Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House and his resort in Mar-a Lago, Florida. During their discussion they reaffirmed security commitments and agreed to continue strengthening US-Japan economic ties.
  • "If they're going to charge tax to our countries-if as an example, we sell a car into Japan and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan...It's not fair." [SourceWhite House conference with business leaders. January 23, 2017
  • "If you want to take a plant or you want to do something, you want to sell something into China and other countries, it's very, very hard. In some cases, it's impossible. They won't even take your product." [SourceWhite House conference with business leaders. January 23, 2017
  • "But Russia and other countries -- and other countries, including China, which has taken total advantage of us economically, totally advantage of us in the South China Sea by building their massive fortress, total." [SourceNews Conference. January 11, 2017
  • "We have hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on a yearly basis -- hundreds of billions with China on trade and trade imbalance, with Japan, with Mexico, with just about everybody." [SourceNews Conference. January 11, 2017
  • On January 10, 2017 President-elect Trump met with China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma, who met with the President-elect to discuss adding a million US businesses to Alibaba's e-commerce platform. [Source] Kathy Chu. Wall Street Journal. January 10, 2017
  • "One of the most important relationships we must improve, and we have to improve, is our relationship with China. The nation of China is responsible for almost half of America’s trade deficit. China is not a market economy, they get a lot of help, and that’s why we designate them as being a non-market economy. Big thing. They haven’t played by the rules and I know it’s time that they are going to start. We’re all in this thing together folks, we gotta play by the rules folks. You have the massive theft of intellectual property, putting unfair taxes on our companies, not helping with the menace of North Korea like they should, and the at-will and massive devaluation of their currency and product dumping. Other than that they’ve been wonderful right?” [Source2016 Trump Thank You Tour Stop in Iowa. December 8, 2016

To view the short interview this tweet refers to, click here.

 

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Methodology: Policy materials and quotations from President Donald J. Trump are limited to after November 9, 2016 when he was formally elected as the 45th President of the United States. Should any quotations before the period be deemed relevant they will be indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date. In all cases, these additional quotations were made within the year prior to the start of the Trump Administration. Flag icons that indicate which countries members of the Trump administration have traveled to are provided by Freepik, accessed through www.flaticon.com.

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