Trump seeks 'fairness, reciprocity' in trade with Southeast Asia

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2017 04:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2017 09:41 PM

US President Donald Trump participates in the US-ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

MANILA -- US President Donald Trump on Monday sought Southeast Asia’s support for his Indo-Pacific Dream in the region, calling for trade arrangements based on “fairness and reciprocity.”

Trump’s short message at the start of a regional summit here reiterated Washington’s blueprint for the Indo-Pacific area, which analysts believe is a strategy to contain China’s growing influence.

The strategy, outlined in an economic forum in Vietnam on Friday, presents the US as a partner in a region “where sovereign and independent nations, with diverse cultures and many different dreams, can all prosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and in peace.”

“We want our partners in the region to be strong, independent, and prosperous, in control of their destinies and satellites to no one,” he said on Monday.

Trump was on the final stop of his five-nation trip to Asia where he sought the region’s backing to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

But he also talked trade through bilateral agreements.

“Today we celebrate your success and we also seek economic partnerships on basis of fairness and reciprocity,” he told leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.