November 02, 2017

CNAS Press Notes on the President’s Trip to Asia

By Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, and Dr. Daniel Kliman

Washington, November 2 – As President Trump prepares for his critical trip to Asia, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Asia-Pacific Security Program has prepared a pair of press notes laying out the key issues and opportunities facing the president and what his administration needs to accomplish during the visit.The full press note is below: 

  • CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program Director Patrick Cronin discusses what the president can accomplish with the major nations in the region and underscores the importance of follow through.
  • Asia Pacific Security Program Senior Fellow Daniel Kliman calls for the president to put forward a positive vision for the region that doubles down on a rules-based order.

Please find Cronin’s press note below:

President Donald Trump’s first visit to East Asia provides an opportunity to set out an ambitious, forward-looking agenda rooted in history.

In Japan, he can underscore the vitality of bilateral alliances while encouraging allies to contribute more to regional security. He can advance cooperation with China while highlighting areas of concern and competition. In Korea, he can pronounce America’s determination to deter North Korean aggression while suggesting a diplomatic way forward. In Vietnam, he can spell out his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region while declaring the importance of freedom of the seas. In the Philippines, he can support ASEAN centrality while using bilateral discussions to advance ties with key countries.

The White House understands the high degree of continuity in a U.S. policy focused on commerce, the maritime commons, and a balance of power operating within a rules-based order.  In the span of 12 days, few deliverables may emerge out of the president’s Asian trip. Yet the impact will be enduring. Delivering powerful speeches in Seoul and Da Nang will not be as important as the follow through, and it is impossible to do this alone. Success depends upon hewing to newly identified U.S. priorities, empowering a multi-dimensional policy, and harnessing a network of effective and able partners and allies. 

Please find Kliman’s press note below:

President Trump’s upcoming Asia trip presents an opportunity to advance America’s position in a region central to U.S. prosperity and security. Calling for cooperation to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea is necessary but insufficient. It will be essential to put forward a positive vision for the region – a vision that doubles down on a rules-based order and emphasizes economic openness and human rights. President Trump’s planned speech on a “free and open Indo-Pacific” suggests the right tone, but U.S. allies and partners will focus on whether his words translate into action. In particular, they will closely watch how the United States deals with China. President Trump will need to continually demonstrate U.S. willingness to stand up for international rules even as the United States and China cooperate in areas of mutual interest. U.S. administrations typically get one try to get their Asia strategy right – this trip will set the course for America’s relations with the world’s most important region for years to come.

Kliman is available for interviews. To arrange one, please contact Neal Urwitz at 202-457-9409 or nurwitz@cnas.org.


  • Dr. Patrick M. Cronin

    Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Patrick M. Cronin is a Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the Senior ...

  • Dr. Daniel Kliman

    Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Daniel M. Kliman is the Senior Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He is an expert in Asia-Pacific strategy, with a p...