This weekend, president Donald Trump arrived in Japan to start his first five country tour of Asia. This comes as international tensions surrounding North Korea and the United States rise to an all time high.
Several asian nations are currently weighing whether to pursue stronger ties with DPRK backed China or the United States going forward. Leaders fear that if a US-North Korea war breaks out, countries not strongly allied with one country or the other could be caught in the crossfire. Trump’s success in this visit is key to the United State’s future in the region.
Trump arrived completely underprepared. He doesn’t seem to fully grasp the weight of the tour.
Until Friday, Trump did not plan to attend the East Asian summit in the Philippines. The East Asian summit is the primary forum in which world leaders meet to discuss important Asian world issues such as North Korea. Trump waited until he was departing Washington to reverse his decision not to attend. Trump’s hesitance to attend has already seeded intense doubt about the United State’s long term commitment to the Asian continent in the minds of world leaders and government officials.
Trump’s top priority for the trip was to convince China to pressure North Korea to end their nuclear weapon program. Xi Jinping, China’s president, has vocally rejected Trump’s plan. In response, Trump has refused to negotiate or even talk to Xi. Instead, he threatened on twitter to “destroy” North Korea.
Trump needs to recognize the importance of the tour and change his behavior accordingly. If he continues as he currently is, he will escalate tensions with North Korea and irreparably damage US diplomatic relations in the Asian region.