25November2017

Home Editorial President Donald Trump's state visit to Asia

President Donald Trump's state visit to Asia

After visiting Japan, the President of the United States, Donald Trump made a state visit to China, and then to Russia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The question is why in his first Asian tour since becoming President, Trump did not visit Indonesia.

For President Donald Trump, his first visit seems to be more directed to the East Asian region and not to Southeast Asia or South Asia. Japan was chosen as the first country. There are probably two main reasons why Japan is the first priority. For America, Japan is a country directly opposite to North Korea, besides South Korea of course. President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan can be viewed from two points: an economic perspective and a security approach. After Japan collapsed due to Atomic bomb attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States is a country that supports Japan, including defense field.

China and Russia as the next visited countries certainly have a strategic position for the United States. The two Asian giants, especially China have enormous economic and market power. Maintaining good relations with Beijing for Washington is a strategic move between competition and cooperation. Both of them have to be embraced to cooperate. The question is why President Donald Trump prefers visiting Vietnam and the Philippines to visiting Indonesia.

During the visit to Vietnam, President Donald Trump would attend the APEC Summit in Danang. Meanwhile in the Philippines, the President would attend a special conference to be joined by the Philippines and some Pacific countries. Apart from both events, Vietnam and the Philippines are strategic partners of the United States in the South China Sea's geopolitical strategy. Both countries are involving in the dispute of Spratly Island against Beijing. Therefore, to maintain balance, Washington views Vietnam and the Philippines strategically in the face of Beijing in the South China Sea. In that perspective, it can be explained why President Donald Trump did not at once visit Indonesia in his first state trip to Asia.

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