There are only two stops left on US president Donald Trump’s Asian tour as he makes his way to Hanoi, Vietnam for a state visit.
Trump arrived in Vietnam earlier today for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit. Once the summit ends, he will be visiting the country’s capital Hanoi, where he will meet with president Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders.
What has changed during Trump’s visit in Asia?
One glaring difference on this trip is Trump’s referral to Asia as Indo-Pacific. It refers to the two oceans, the Indian and Pacific, which encompasses southeast Asia, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand.
This marks a break in US foreign policy, when it would refer to Asia as Asia-Pacific, referring the area from North Korea to the southern part of China.
In addition, Trump has mainly used this trip as a chance to appear strong in the face of China. At the Apec summit, he told a gathering of chief executives:
“From this day forward we will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United State be taken advantage of anymore. I am going to put America first.”
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However, instead of directly laying the blame at China, he instead chose to fire criticisms at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for not functioning properly as a result of its members not respecting the rules.
Will Trump spend time with Putin?
Both leaders are in Vietnam for Apec, with speculation rising that the two would hold a meeting. Trump has been complimentary about the Russian leader in the past, however, the US is still grappling with the role Russia played in influencing last year’s presidential election.
The White Press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that a formal meeting is not in place yet they could have a “sideline chat.” She said:
“There is no formal meeting or anything scheduled for them. Now, they’re going to be in the same place. Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely. But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate there will be one.”
If there is a sighting of a Trump-Putin interaction, it could overshadow the entire focus of the president’s visit in Asia, due to the situation regarding Russia and the election back home.
What’s next for Trump in Asia?
For the final part of Trump’s Asia visit, he will arrive in the Philippines on 12 November, for a special gala dinner for the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Whilst he is there, he will take part in bilateral meetings with president Rodrigo Duterte.
Lawmakers in the US have asked Trump to highlight the human rights situation in the Philippines during his meeting with Duterte, as a result of the high level of deaths caused by the president’s war on drugs.