At the start of his presidency Donald Trump and his close advisors paid little attention to East Asia.
But the escalating tension with North Korea has dragged his gaze this way, as has his perception that the United States is getting a raw deal in its trade relations with this region.
Mr. Trump has just completed the longest Asian tour made by any sitting US president, and has returned to Washington DC proclaiming a triumphant reset of America’s relations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
During his 12-day trip Mr. Trump played gold with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, met Emperor Akihito, met the newly-installed President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, tried but failed to reach the DMZ, was given a lavish welcome by Xi Jinping in Beijing, attended the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, where he outlines a tough new US approach to trade, and then flew to Manila for the 50th anniversary summit of ASEAN.
But what does Mr. Trump’s new deal for Asia amount to? The FCCT os pleased to host an outstanding penal to discuss the state of US-East Asia relations
Kobsak Chutikul is a veteran Thai diplomat and regional observer whose first dealings with China predate official diplomatic relations between Bangkok and Beijing in 1975. His diplomatic postings have included Washington, the UN, and the Czech Republic before he entered Thailand’s heady domestic political scene in 2000 with the Chat Thai Party. He is currently secretary general of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council.
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, an award-winning columnist writing in the Bangkok Post and numerous foreign publications, is an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of political science, and director of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
Dr. Prapat Thepchatree, Director, Center for ASEAN Studies, Thammasat University and president of the Association of American Studies in Thailand.
Steve Herman, White House Bureau Chief for Voice of America, a veteran journalist who spent 25 years in Asia, and who accompanied President Trump on this tour. Steve will be joining us by Skype from Washington
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