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Looking forward to President Trump’s visit

UNITED States President Donald Trump’s coming visit to Manila this November is most significant on so many levels.

It will be his first visit to this part of the world which has been wondering about the US commitment to the region since Trump unexpectedly withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement right after he won the US presidential election in November, 2016. The TPP would have been the largest trade agreement in history, culminating seven years of negotiations among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US.

But Trump said it was bad for the US economy, although critics said that more likely, Trump rejected it as an Obama initiative. In any case, it gave way to a rival China-led Asia-Pacific free trade area grouping ASEAN’s 10 nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand – but not the US.

The world has been wondering what the US proposes to do now that it seems to be distancing itself from all these Asia-Pacific nations. They look forward to President Trump’s coming visit to Asia for the Manila ASEAN summit with stops in China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. They await his stand on America’s relations with our part of the world.

Trump’s visit also comes at a time when the US is involved in a tense and dangerous dispute with North Korea. The leaders of both countries – North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the US’s Trump – have threatened to destroy each other.

Trump’s coming visit to Manila may help win support for United Nations efforts to stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile weapons development program.

And then the Philippines has a special reason to welcome President Trump. The relations between the two countries have deteriorated since former US President Barack Obama voiced criticism of possible human rights violations in President Duterte’s campaign against drugs.

President Trump has been more accepting and more open to President Duterte’s campaign and when he comes to visit in November, the two may just hit it off, give rise to a new era of close PH-US ties. “President Trump will definitely receive a very warm welcome in Manila,” Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano said last Saturday.

We look forward to the coming visit of President Trump. And we have high expectations that his visit will help resolve so many issues and problems that threaten world peace and development today.