Strategically, All Eyes Are on Trump Visit to China

The most important strategic intervention at this point in time is undoubtedly Donald Trump’s trip to Asia, which takes him to five countries in Asia, and includes attendance at three summits, over the period Nov. 5-14. The most momentous event should be the talks between the U.S. President and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who just united the Communist Party of China behind his Belt and Road Initiative at the 19th Congress of the party.

Hopefully, Donald Trump will fully commit the United States to participating in the BRI, and will take up the offer to let the Chinese put their know-how and investments into helping the U.S. rebuild its infrastructure. While the President has often expressed his wish to launch an ambitious program, it has not yet got off the ground and remains a weak flank. When asked by Fox News on Nov. 5 whether he would demand from China greater access to its financial markets and major trade concessions, Trump replied that he was not going to Asia to make such demands, because his great interest is in solving the nuclear crisis around North Korea, and because of his extremely good working relationship with President Xi. On another occasion, he stated: “I’ve become very, very close to President Xi of China. I think a lot of good things are going to happen [on this visit].”

Defying his neocon foes on another front, Trump also make known on Nov. 4 that he would meet Russian President Putin on the sidelines of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Vietnam. That event, it was just confirmed, will be keynoted by Xi Jinping, reflecting the great interest in the BRI and the Maritime Silk Road in the entire area.