Sunday 30th April, 2017

Trump To Attend Asia Summits, Says VP Pence

RFE - Friday 21st April, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump will attend a series of key summits in Asia in November, in a sign of America's 'unwavering commitment' to the region, Vice President Mike Pence said April 20 in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

Trump will go to the US-ASEAN and East Asia meetings in the Philippines, as well as a gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group in Vietnam, Pence said during a visit at the Jakarta headquarters of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) where he met representatives of the bloc.

Former President Barack Obama sought to refocus U.S. foreign policy on the region to counterbalance China's growing influence.

Trump's decision to attend the meetings could come as a surprise to some, given his 'America first' rhetoric and his decision to abandon a Pacific trade pact.

The president's attendance at the meetings was 'a sign, I hope to all, of our firm and unwavering commitment to build on the strong foundations that we already share,' Pence said.

It was the latest signal on Pence's tour of Asia that the Trump administration is seeking to calm concerns after the president's often combative rhetoric unsettled allies.

During stops in South Korea and Japan, Pence reaffirmed U.S. treaty commitments to the security of the two countries as tensions rise over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The East Asia Summit groups 18 countries including ASEAN member states, the United States, Russia, and China. APEC brings together 21 member states from either side of the Pacific.

Pence on April 20 also toured the biggest mosque in Muslim-majority Indonesia during a visit seen as highly symbolic.

With reporting by AFP and AP

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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