It's mission accomplished for President Trump on his first trip to Asia as he successfully shared his vision for the region. His last stop was the Philippines where he made more diplomatic overtures with leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN conference.
On the first night of the conference, Philippine President Duterte hosted a gala dinner for the participants. To everyone's surprise, he sang a Filipino love song, giving the excuse that he was just following orders from the Commander-in Chief of the United States.
The joke made by Philippine President Duterte with President Trump at the gala dinner of the ASEAN Summit showed a warm rapport between the two heads of state. It's a far cry from how Duterte related with the past U.S. administration.
President Donald Trump had high praise for the spectacular entertainment. He said he enjoyed the show. He also told the media that the Asia trip was very successful.
Trump and Duterte met in a bilateral meeting. Both state leaders affirmed the close ties between the U.S. and the Philippines. They did not talk about human rights violations in Duterte's war on drugs but they did discuss the South China Sea, where the Philippines has become a central player in resisting China's increasingly assertive territorial claims. They also looked for ways to combat terrorism in the region.
Trump also met with Indian Prime Minister Modi. Modi suggested the U.S.- India relationship is deepening. Trump has embraced the world's largest democracy as a natural ally in efforts to counter China's growing influence in the Indo-China region.
Contrary to fears that President Trump's "America First" vision may result in disengagement from the Asia Pacific region, observers say Trump's participation in the APEC and ASEAN summits has strengthened cooperation with the countries he visited and will advance America's involvement in Asia.
Asia Pacific leaders agreed to address unfair trade practices a and urgently called for the removal of what President Trump referred to as market distorting subsidies.
The change in the trade language shows the influence of Trump's America-first policy. And the president said trade deals reached during his 12-day Asia trip totaled more than $1-Trillion for the United States.
Trump also volunteered mediate for countries in the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
Alexander Feldman is the President and the CEO of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, Inc.
He said, "Obviously this is a major departure from US foreign policy. Previously we said we were neutral. We didn't have stake or claim in the South China Sea other than continuing freedom of navigation for all international players. These are critical sea lanes for trade. And it really is important and President Trump's weighing into the actual disputes between China and the other claimants is an interesting development."
Other matters of concern discussed by world leaders here were the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. and ending the violence that is causing the mass migration from Myanmar of Rohingya refugees. Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Syi said that the credibility of ASEAN is on the line if it does not solve the Rohingya problem..