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On some levels, Trump's trip to Asia was very successful in that he didn't make any major gaffes. He travelled to Japan, South Korea, China, the Philippines and Vietnam. And in most capitals, he spent his time flattering the leaders of the countries he was in. They flattered him back. And so on that level, it was very successful. He kept a kind of unified message on North Korea when he was in Japan, South Korea, and China.
On another level, however, he didn't really achieve very much. He talked about North Korea, where I think he was relatively successful. But he also talked a lot about trade, and how he wanted the rest of the world to treat the US fairly. But he really didn't come back from his trip to Asia with anything concrete in terms of new trade deals or discussion about trade deals that would help address the US trade deficit.
So grading against Trump's other trips, I think it was gaffe-free so it was successful. But in terms of concrete achievements, there really wasn't that much that he brought home. A couple of weeks before Trump went to Asia, Rex Tillerson, who's the Secretary of State, laid out the start of the Trump administration's policy on Asia. And he talked about the Indo-Pacific and how it was very important for US security and for the security of its allies in the region.
Where it differs from Barack Obama's pivot to Asia is really that it puts a little bit more stress or emphasis on the need to bring India into the relationship. Now people in China and critics of the policy say that it's an attempt to contain China. The administration contends that it's not, it's a way to bolster US security relationships in the region. But certainly in Beijing, it didn't go down very well.
In many ways, it's an extension of the Obama administration's pivot to Asia with one big difference, which is that the Obama administration's economic pillar of their strategy was the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal that brought together 12 Pacific Rim nations and formed a massive trade block. Trump pulled the US out of that deal on this first day in office.
And while he was in Asia, he talked a lot about trying to do bilateral trade deals with other countries in the region, but actually there's very little scope to do that at the moment. And there's very little interest on the part of other countries in Asia to do that with the US. So the Indo-Pacific policy has elements of Barack Obama's pivot, but it lacks the major economic component of the Obama administration policy.