The Pew Research Center conducted an opinion survey among the people of Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines, four countries which – along with China — United States President Donald Trump is visiting in East Asia this week.
The survey said 69 percent of Filipinos expressed confidence in Trump – the highest level of confidence among the nations surveyed. Vietnamese were next to the Filipinos – 58 percent – in expressing confidence in Trump. The Japanese had 24 percent and the South Koreans 17 percent. Globally the median score among many nations surveyed was only 22 percent confidence in Trump.
The US president has two principal goals in this visit. The first is to get the various Asian nations, especially China, to get North Korea somehow to back down from its repeated threat to send a nuclear missile across the Pacific to the US mainland. The other goal is to persuade China to agree to a more balanced US-China trade, which is now heavily in favor of China.
But it is the North Korea problem which most concerns the US today and Trump will be seeking China President Xi Jinping’s help. China is North Korea’s principal ally today and, among all nations, is in the best position to persuade North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to ease up on its nuclear threat to the US.
Trump’s Asian tour will take him from Japan to China to Vietnam. His trip will end in Manila where he will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) East Asia Summit on November 13-14. He is assured of a warm welcome in Manila, not only by President Duterte and other Philippine officials but also by the people, as indicated by the Pew research findings.
It is at the ASEAN East Asia Summit where he will have the best opportunity to win help and support from the ASEAN and other East Asian nations for his diplomatic efforts to end the threat poised by North Korea. He should realize by now that threatening North Korea with “total destruction” as he had done in the past will not stop Kim Jong Un. A concerted diplomatic effort by the many ASEAN and East nations, notably China, is more likely to lead to a solution to the problem.
It will be in Manila where President Trump may crown his peace efforts. The hopes of a world living in fear of nuclear devastation go with him.
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