Asia congratulates Trump while worrying about change
Asian allies are heartily congratulating Donald Trump for his election victory while worrying whether his “America first” focus will erode regional security and undercut trade agreements.
No one is quite sure what to expect from the billionaire businessman who has no political experience and is perceived as a hot-head who sees the world in terms of profits and losses.
Some of the biggest questions are what will happen to the “Pacific pivot,” President Barack Obama's plan to bolster America’s military and trade presence in a region that he saw as critical to the future, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade deal that Trump has derided as contrary to America’s best interests.
Trump has sent mixed messages to Asia. He sparked concern across Japan and South Korea when he said during his campaign they need to pay more of the costs of basing U.S. troops in the region and suggested they should start their own nuclear weapons programs to defend themselves from possible attacks by North Korea or China.
“He has said that he is going to increase the military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, but he also signaled that he would draw troops down from Japan and Korea,” said James Brown, a defense expert at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney.
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