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Asia Minute: What Will President Trump Mean for the Asia Pacific?

Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

As the world continues to consider the implications of a Donald Trump presidency, that process goes on across the Asia Pacific. And the focus varies depending on the country. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

At this early stage, it’s all nervous speculation.  How exactly will Donald Trump deal with the Asia Pacific?  A Thursday headline from Korea’s Joong Ang Daily says “Trump’s Victory Worries Korea.”

Concerns include possible protectionist trade policies, and a campaign suggestion that South Korea, along with Japan, pay more for US forces stationed in their countries.  Another shared regional concern: how Trump will deal with North Korea.

An important activity in coming weeks and months will be to separate campaign rhetoric from actual policy plans.  Rhetoric includes the threat of 45% tariffs on Chinese products and a suggestion that Japan pursue the development of nuclear weapons. 

Plans seem unlikely to include the Trans Pacific Partnership—at least not in its current form.  Questions include Trump’s selection of regional policy professionals---for example, how he fills senior positions at the Departments of State, Treasury, and the National Security Council. 

A column in Singapore’s Straits Times suggests China is eager to take advantage of any perceived vacuum created by an American pull-back from the region….saying Trump’s election “will unnerve Asians who believe that their future lies with the United States in the long term.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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