Since becoming President, Donald Trump has held summits with Japan’s Premier Abe Shinzo and China’s President Xi Jinping that have been widely regarded as improving (dramatically in Japan’s case) potentially shaky relations, canceled US participation the TPP, dispatched the vice president and cabinet level officials to the region who have offered assurances of continuity in US policy, reaffirmed US adherence to its one China policy (after casting doubt on that policy following a post-election phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen), foregone (for now) conflict with China over currency, trade and other economic issues (which had been a prominent campaign theme), and adopted a highly assertive posture towards North Korea and its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, while pressing China to exert greater pressure on Pyongyang.
With conflicting or unclear signals during the campaign, transition and first months of the new administration, and with key positions on East Asia policy almost entirely unfilled as the new presidency passes its hundred day point, what have been the patterns and what are the likely or possible trajectories of Trump-era US policies toward East Asia? How are events in the region, including reactions to US actions and statements, likely to shape US policy? What are the implications for regional stability and security, regional economic integration, and US interests, and the US’s role, in East Asia?
The Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Asia Program and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House present a symposium to address these issues.