UNITED STATES President Donald Trump’s speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit has talked tough on trade and North Korea, again reiterating his administration’s ‘America first’ agenda on the world stage.
Speaking in Danang, Vietnam on Friday, Trump praised an “Indo-Pacific dream” and said that the United States was happy to see its “old friend in the region” flourish economically in recent decades, describing economic development in Asia as “nothing short of miraculous”.
Nevertheless, Trump repeatedly emphasised his ‘America first’ trade policy, insisting that the US had been unfairly treated by other players in the global economy.
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“Simply put, we have not been treated fairly by the World Trade Organisation,” said Trump, blaming his predecessors for inaction. “From this day forward, we will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” he added.
Speaking positively of his time in China prior to arriving in Vietnam, Trump said “I do not blame China, or any other country … for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs.”
Trump reiterated a sentiment from his controversial speech to the UN General Assembly in September: “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.”
“The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression. Those days are over.”
Trump’s chest-beating continued when he moved to the topic of North Korea. He said he was urging “every responsible nation” to reject Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
“The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator’s twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail,” said Trump.
“We must uphold principles that have benefitted all of us like respect for the rule of law, individual rights and freedom of navigation and overflight.”