Even by many of his critics’ accounts, President Donald Trump’s Asia trip was largely a success.
“During his first visit to Northeast Asia as president, [Trump] stayed on script, deepened relationships with his counterparts and succeeded in communicating the right combination of assurance regarding the United States’ commitment to its allies and resolve in the face of the global threat posed by North Korea,” said Scott Snyder, fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations fellow.
Trump returned to the U.S. on Tuesday after visiting five Asian countries — Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. According to Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest, the Trump administration intended to focus about 90 percent of its efforts during the Asia trip on the threat from North Korea. The administration focused the other 10 percent on trade.
While in the South Korean capital of Seoul, just miles from North Korea, Trump spoke to the South Korean National Assembly, from which he received booming applause for his tough talk regarding North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Throughout all of Trump’s trip, Kim Jong Un refrained from testing ballistic missiles, as some speculated he might do to further stoke the flames of tension between North Korea and the United States.
Further, Trump’s visit to China appeared to show the communist regime’s increased willingness to work with the U.S. and South Korea on the North Korean threat. Just months into Trump’s presidency, China agreed to sanctions on North Korea, a move thought nearly unimaginable just one year ago when Barack Obama was still president.
Despite these successes, much of the media have pushed the narrative that the president’s Asia trip was anything but successful.
Washington Post writer Adam Taylor, for example, called Trump’s message to America’s allies in Asia “incoherent.” Taylor said the trip was “designed to offer a vision for U.S. foreign policy in the region and reassure allies at a time of worrying tension.” But, Taylor opined, “it has done neither.”
“Instead, the Trump administration has offered up conflicting versions of its Asia policy,” Taylor said.
Taylor pointed to Trump’s tough talk regarding China juxtaposed with his “bizarrely deferential” treatment of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
“It was a remarkable approach for a president who has so frequently talked tough on China, as well as a contrast to Trump’s condescending treatment of [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe, the ally whom Trump belittled a number of times during his time in Japan,” Taylor wrote.
Taylor was not the only one to be critical of Trump’s high stakes Asia trip, though. Kazianis called the trip “disastrous,” saying that given Trump’s lack of foreign policy experience before becoming president, “no one expected miracles.”
But “at the very least, being a foreign policy novice, Trump could have chosen to say little, listen more, shake some hands, lay some wreaths, and give some forgettable speeches. Instead, what we have is what we should expect nowadays from this White House: a total disaster in words as well as in deeds.”
“What we saw during Trump’s tour of Asia was a series of incoherent rants, no vision or grand strategy for the future, and a strange bromance-style of foreign policy.”
To that end, the Inquisitr’s Alan Ewart claimed in a column Sunday that Trump was “cozying up to Communists” during his trip while “undermining his own intelligence agencies.”
But CNN’s James Griffith agreed the president’s trip was successful.
“If the primary purpose of Trump’s visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines was to shore up relations with those countries and their leaders, the trip can be judged a success, even though actual policy wins were in scant supply,” Griffith wrote on Monday.
President Trump said Sunday that he will make a “major announcement” Wednesday regarding the outcome of policy successes from his 12-day Asia trip, ABC News reported.