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Trump targets South-east Asia-US policy continuity

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Emerging US policy towards South-east Asia under the Trump administration.


On May 5, the 30th US-ASEAN Dialogue opens in Washington, to be co-chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. This follows Vice-President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia of April 20-22, the first to South-east Asia by a cabinet-level official from the Trump administration. The White House used that occasion to announce that President Donald Trump will attend the APEC meeting in Vietnam and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in the Philippines in November.


  • Trump may co-chair a US-ASEAN Summit with Philippines president on the EAS’s margins, which could improve frayed bilateral ties.
  • Congress could frustrate any Trump administration plans to sanction countries with trade surpluses with the United States.
  • An ASEAN-US free trade agreement is unlikely soon.
  • Trump has invited Vietnam’s prime minister to visit Washington later, which could make Hanoi more bullish towards China.

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