President Donald J. Trump and US-Asia Pacific Relations

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Lead researcher: 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

To view the positions of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, 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, and Secretary of State Tillerson use the links below.

Vice President Mike Pence Secretary of Defense James Mattis Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries 

Has not yet traveled to the Asia Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Leaders

  • 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

  •  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 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

  • 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

  • "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

 

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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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