World

Trump in Asia: Red carpets, rhetoric but no real change

MANILA Mr Donald Trump's marathon Asian trip passed off without any major incident, but for all the pomp and ceremony thrown his way, analysts say the tour ended with little to show in the way of concrete achievements.

Regional leaders vied with each other during the five-nation sweep to fete a president known for his partiality to grand gestures of honour and respect.

And it clearly worked.

"It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received," Mr Trump said.

But he skipped the plenary session of a summit of East and South-east Asian leaders in Manila yesterday because of scheduling delays.

From Tokyo to Manila, via Seoul, Beijing, Danang and Hanoi, the 71-year-old president hammered out two priorities: increasing pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme and pushing for better access to Asian markets for US companies.

But beyond the rhetoric and smiling photo opportunities, questions remain as to what progress he actually made on either issue.

"If you compare the before and after of Trump's Asia tour, nothing has really changed (on the issue of North Korea)," Mr Go Myong Hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies - a Seoul-based think tank - told AFP.

Mr Trump pushed Chinese President Xi Jinping to exert more pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions but Beijing, Pyongyang's main trading partner, "is sticking to its existing stance" of limited sanctions, Mr Go said.

On the issue of trade, it was also unclear whether Mr Trump managed to bag any major wins. - AFP

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