U.S.-Asia Relations During Trump's First 100 Days

Event Recap

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walk together to their joint press conference in the East Room at the White House on February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On April 25, 2017, the Asia Society Policy Institue (ASPI) and The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University co-hosted a special event in Washington D.C. to consider U.S.-Asia relations at the 100-day mark of the Trump administration. 

The event included keynote speeches by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX), as well as a panel discussion featuring several Asia policy experts: ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler; Kent Calder, Director of Asia Programs at SAIS; Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security; Michael Swaine, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Joshua White, Associate Professor of South Asia Studies at SAIS. Jacob Schlesinger of the Wall Street Journal moderated the conversation.

In his opening address, Senator Gardner emphasized the Trump administration's efforts to "reassure" key allies in the Asia-Pacific region. The most urgent challenge in the region is "the coming nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula," Gardner said, arguing that the Trump administration should deploy "every and all economic, diplomatic, and, if necessary, military tool at our disposal to deter Pyongyang and protect our allies." (27 min., 20. sec.)

The expert panel discussion analyzed the Trump administration’s Asia policy in its first 100 days. The panelists noted a shift from the previous administration’s comprehensive pivot toward Asia on economic and security matters to a narrower, more transactional approach, particularly with China. Speaking on U.S.-China trade policy, Cutler recommended that the U.S. and China should identify the “issues of tomorrow,” such as the auto sector and emerging technologies, in defining their trade relationship. (1 hour, 33 min., 29. sec.) 

Representative Castro, the founding co-chair of the House U.S.-Japan Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, delivered the closing keynote speech. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of U.S.-ASEAN relations and urged the Trump administration to build on the Obama administration's successes in Asia through "thought out policy and steadiness of diplomacy." As an early step, he recommended that the administration quickly fill the many empty U.S. ambassadorial posts to Asia. (30 min., 22 sec.)

Watch the full event here. 

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