MANILA: President Trump headed back to Washington on Tuesday after he wrapped up what he claimed was a “tremendously successful” 12-day trip to Asia, but which left some experts questioning whether the tour was more style than substance, report agencies.
“I think the fruits of our labor are going to be incredible, whether it’s security of our nations, whether it’s security of the world or whether it’s trade,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as the presidential plane departed Manila on its way to Hawaii.
For the most part, the logistics and pageantry of the trip went off without a hitch. Trump said billions of dollars in new deals had been reached and he spoke about the “many good friends” he made, but he offered no new policy changes or detail on efforts to curtail North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. It was meant to be a major focus of the trip.
Trump promised a “major statement” on the trip later this week at the White House.
Richard Javad Heydarian, a Manila-based political expert, said Trump “essentially got nothing out of China. South Koreans are still extremely perturbed by Trump’s unpredictable statements. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) countries going forward with their own free trade deal was a very clear repudiation of the Trump’s ‘fair trade’ rhetoric.” Heydarian, author of The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt, said that Trump’s “convivial hobnob” with controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was by far the most successful leg of the journey.