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Asian Officials On Edge As Trump's Trip To Pacific Rim Draws Near

The tensions between the United States and North Korea have been pushed out of the headlines of late, but we can expect them to become a big talking point again over the next week. That’s because President Donald Trump is about to embark on a trip to the Pacific Rim, and there are concerns that such a trip may exacerbate tensions even further. As the Daily Mail shares, Asian officials are concerned that Trump will push the envelope too far while delivering remarks.

As Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Bruce Klingner explained, the president’s visit is leading to some serious apprehension on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

“Seoul and Tokyo are more nervous about Washington than I have seen during my 24 years working [in] Asia,” he said.

Klingner is not the only one that has relayed the concerns. Scott Snyder, the Council on Foreign Relations' U.S.-Korea policy director, notes that Seoul officials are “praying that the worst doesn't transpire” during Trump's planned speech to South Korea's National Assembly, and many are preparing with “a lot of white knuckles.”

Reading between the lines, there are concerns that Trump will drop his ‘Little Rocket Man’ line about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There are natural fears that having Trump say such a thing while clearly in missile range could lead to all hell breaking loose. From that perspective, it’s certainly understandable why officials are concerned. North Korea has shown a proclivity for defiant acts of late, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of reason to assume that the country would engage in a little sabre rattling with Trump in the region.

Beyond those concerns, Klingner explains that there are other things on the minds of Asian officials these days, and the hope is that they’ll be cleared up during Trump’s trip.

“They are looking for a consistent message, most notably on reassurance of US commitment and resolve to defend them. They also seek to be fully consulted and coordinated with on policy toward North Korea,” he said. “Seoul and Tokyo are simultaneously concerned about [the] U.S. entangling them in a war with North Korea, abandoning them once Pyongyang can threaten the continental U.S. with nuclear weapons, and that President Trump will cut a bilateral deal with North Korea.”

We’ll have to wait and see how that part will ultimately play out. Trump has made it crystal clear that the interests of the US come first, but that doesn’t mean he’s simply going to abandon long-standing allies either. He’s been particularly displeased with North Korea’s rampant threats against both the US and its allies, so that doesn’t point to a situation in which the US would leave either nation hanging in the wind if things spiraled out of control.

As for Trump’s rhetoric, he’s actually presented himself quite well on the world stage in a number of different spots, and there’s a rather big difference between the commander-in-chief that we see there and the one that rears his head on Twitter and at rally-style events. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that he proves that assessment to be correct when he heads to Asia next week.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: YouTube

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