As President Donald Trump left Hawaii headed back to Washington, D.C. following a long and busy 12-day trip to Asia, a tweet went out from his official Twitter account.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2017
Trump has sustained a level of optimism about his tour of 5 major Asian nations — including Japan, South Korea, and China — that has not necessarily been shared by American media outlets. Some of the more prominent have pointed out that Trump’s trade-heavy “charm offensive” didn’t stop several Asian nations from following through on a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement without the U.S. before the president’s tour even ended.
[I]n Da Nang, Vietnam… Trump told the audience of Asian nations that he is “not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore” and pledged to pursue bilateral trade, not multi-national, trade deals with countries.Not soon after, however, the nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit moved on without Trump when trade ministers from the 11 remaining nations of the TPP — including Japan, Canada and Australia — agreed to core elements of a new trade agreement that excludes the United States.
Trump, however, struck a decidedly different tone on the way home, telling reporters traveling with him that it had been “a really great 12 days.”
“Well, I think we made a lot of progress, just in terms of relationship. We actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things,” the president said en route to Hawaii at the conclusion of his tour, referring to a deal struck with Chinese businesses that is being touted as the first big success in a new bi-lateral deal-making direction the U.S. is exploring. “And I think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly. So that’s over a trillion dollars’ worth of stuff.”
Trump also told reporters the trip was successful in bringing all concerned parties together to discuss the threat of North Korea. “I think their acts are all together. China has been excellent. Japan and South Korea have been excellent. I think that’s a very important part of the trip,” he said.
Trump’s Asia trip — his first trip abroad in several months — was specifically intended to explore the joint where trade meets national security, with Trump overtly mentioning that nexus in a speech before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
“[T]he other important part to me was trade and relationships. The Philippines is an unbelievably important military location because if you speak to the admirals and you speak to the generals, that’s a perfect spot. And, as you know, we had no relationship for a long period of time in the Philippines, and now we have a very good relationship there,” Trump said, loosely referencing the role that country plays in the dispute over the trade route through the South China Sea. “We’re back with the Philippines. So, strategically, we have a very important location — maybe the most important strategic location in that area. So it’s good.”
Trump will be back in the mainland late Tuesday evening.