Trump to promote free and open Indo-Pacific region during Asia trip

Washington: President Donald Trump would reaffirm the American leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region during his maiden trip to Asia next month, the White House has said.

Ten months into the world’s most powerful executive office, the US president would embark on a two-week-long trip to Asia.

“The president’s travel is going to underscore his commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships and reaffirm the United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a senior administration official told reporters in a preview of the trip.

Trump himself told reporters in a joint media appearance with the visiting Prime Minister of Singapore that he is looking forward to his trip to Asia from November 3 to 14.

“This trip will be the president’s longest to date, underscoring the importance that he places on the Indo-Pacific region,” the senior administration official said.

While his visits to Japan, South Korea and China, are bilateral one, during his stops in Vietnam and the Philippines, Trump will be participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the US ASEAN Summit.

In Vietnam and Philippines, Trump also plans to hold bilateral and tri-lateral meetings with other world leaders, details of which are still being worked out.

Trump would embark on his Indo-Pacific sojourn on November 3 via Hawaii wherein he will receive a briefing from the US Pacific Command.

He will also visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

The president will officially commence his visit to Asia beginning with Japan on November 5.

In Japan, “he is going to affirm the US-Japan Alliance as the cornerstone for regional peace and security,” the official said addingthat he will focus on ways for the US and Japan to work together to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.

During his state visit to South Korea on November 7, Trump will participate in bilateral meetings with President Moon Jae-in and also visit American and South Korean service members.

The next day, he will speak at the National Assembly in Korea, where he will celebrate the enduring alliance and friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea and call on the international community to join together in maximising pressure on North Korea.

Trump is likely to highlight the enduring strength of the US-South Korea alliance, which is stronger than ever in the face of North Korean aggression, the official said.

Trump would fly to Beijing the next day for a series of bilateral, commercial and cultural events including meetings with President Xi Jinping.

“I anticipate that the president will seek to secure China’s commitments to exert more pressure on North Korea and to rebalance our economic relations.

The visit will send a clear message that for bilateral economic relations to be sustainable over the long term, China must provide fair and reciprocal treatment to US firms and cease predatory trade and investment practices,” the official said.

The president will then travel to Da Nang in Vietnam on November 10, where he will participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC, economic leaders meeting and deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit.

“In the speech, Trump will present the United States commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and underscore the important role the region plays in advancing America’s economic prosperity,” the official said adding that Trump’s engagements at APEC will reinforce the US commitment to an equitable, sustainable and rules-based international economic system based on market principles.

On November 11, Trump will travel to Hanoi, where he’s going to have an official visit and bilateral engagements with President Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders.

President Trump will arrive in Manila in Philippines on November 12, to participate in special gala celebration dinner for the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The next day on November 13, the president will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the US-ASEAN relations at the US-ASEAN Summit, and will participate in bilateral meetings with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.

“The president’s participation in ASEAN events will advance US leadership, promoting Indo-Pacific trade and security architecture that’s based on freedom and openness and adherence to the rule of law,” the official said.