Washington: US president Donald Trump has said that he met prime ministers of India, Japan and Australia during his Asia trip to discuss their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
In a televised live address to the nation, a day after he returned from a nearly two-week Asia trip with stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines, Trump said momentum from the trip will launch the US on its continued effort to accomplish the three core objectives.
"Unite the world against North Korean nuclear threat, to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and to advance fair and reciprocal economic relations with our trading partners and allies in the region," Trump said in the 25-minute address.
"We have established a new framework for trade that will ensure reciprocity through enforcement actions, reform of international organisations and new fair-trade deals that benefit the US and our partners," he said.
"This journey took us to five nations, to meet with dozens of foreign leaders, participate in three formal state visits and attend three key regional summits," he said, adding that, it was the longest visit to the region by an American president in more than a quarter of a century.
Trump met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Philippines on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. This was the second bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
The US president also met Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, which assumes significance in view of the launch of quadrilateral dialogue between the US, Australia, Japan and India.
"At ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations, we made it clear that no one owns the ocean. Freedom of navigation and overflight are critical to the security and prosperity of all nations," he said.
"I also met with the Prime Ministers of India, Australia, and Japan to discuss our shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," Trump said.
At the East Asia Summit, he said, the US negotiated and signed four important leader statements on the use of chemical weapons, money laundering, poverty alleviation and countering terrorist propaganda and financing.
Before Philippines, Trump travelled to Vietnam where he attended the APEC Summit meeting.
"Crucially, at both summits and throughout the trip, we asked all nations to support our campaign of maximum pressure for North Korean denuclearisation," he said.
"And they are responding by cutting trade with North Korea, restricting financial ties to the regime and expelling North Korean diplomats and workers. Over the last two weeks, we have made historic strides in reasserting American leadership, restoring American security and reawakening American confidence," he said.
Trump said, everywhere he went, the hosts greeted the American delegation with incredible warmth, hospitality and, most importantly, respect.
"And this great respect showed very well our country is further evidence that America's renewed confidence and standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now," he said.
"When we are confident in ourselves, our strength, our flag, our history, our values, other nations are confident in us. And when we treat our citizens with the respect they deserve, other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves. During our travel, this is exactly what the world saw — a strong, proud and confident America," he asserted.
In Asia, Trump said his message was clear and well-received: America is here to compete, to do business and to defend its values and security.
Addressing the APEC Summit in Vietnam, he said that he reminded the world of America's historic role in the Pacific as a force for freedom and for peace.
"Standing on this proud history, I offered our vision for robust trading relationships in which Indo-Pacific nations can all prosper and grow together. I announced that the US is ready to make bilateral trade deals, with any nation in the region that wants to be our partner in fair and reciprocal trade," he said.
"We will never again turn a blind eye to trading abuses, to cheating, economic aggression, or anything else from countries that profess a belief in open trade, but do not follow the rules or live by its principles themselves. No international trading organisation can function if members are allowed to exploit the openness of others for unfair economic gain," Trump said.
Trade abuses harm the US and its workers, but no more, he asserted.
"We will take every trade action necessary to achieve the fair and reciprocal treatment that the US has offered to the rest of the world for decades. My message has resonated," he said.
"The 21 APEC leaders, for the first time ever, recognise the importance of fair and reciprocal trade. Recognise the need to address unfair trade practices, and acknowledge that the WTO is in strong need of reform," he told Americans.
These leaders also noted that countries must do a better job following the rules to which they agree, he said.
"I also made very clear that the US will promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which nations enjoy the independence and respect they deserve," he said.
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Updated Date: Nov 16, 2017 07:15:33 IST