Trump’s Asia Trip to Assuage Doubts

Daniel Russel on BBC Radio 4

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit South Korea

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit South Korea | November 7, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

On November 8, 2017, ASPI Diplomat in Residence Daniel Russel talked to BBC Radio 4 about President Donald Trump’s Asia trip and what to expect from China during Trump’s first presidential visit to Beijing.

Russel says that an all-powerful post-congress Xi Jinping will not jostle for salience when he meets with Trump, but will treat it as an opportunity to project a confident image that “he is fully the peer of the U.S. president, if not more than that.” Xi will want to send a message to the Chinese people that the “West is coming to Beijing and is in awe of the majesty of the rejuvenated Chinese nation,” states Russel.

While Xi wants to “sow some doubts” about America’s commitment to Asia, Trump’s reaffirmation of the U.S. alliance with Japan and South Korea, and his decision to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and East Asia summits are good signs that can assuage those doubts. “President Trump seems to have taken to heart … that [U.S.] messages are amplified when the president delivers them on Asian soil,” Russel adds. (3 min., 33 sec.)

Listen to the entire episode. 

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