White House Has a New Name for Asia

How does 'Indo-Pacific' sound?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2017 1:48 PM CDT
White House Has a New Name for Asia
President Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Friday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Trump is known for his nicknames, his unusual suggestions for what to call new legislation, and now, perhaps, for rebranding an entire region. As he starts the first leg of his 10-day visit to Asia on Friday, the AP reports that Trump and administration officials are moving away from using the term "Asia-Pacific" to describe the area and instead opting for "Indo-Pacific." In a pre-trip presser, National Security Adviser HR McMaster used the moniker several times, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it 15 times in a speech two weeks ago, and Trump himself mentioned it during a Wednesday Cabinet meeting. While the AP notes the term has been bandied about in foreign policy circles and among countries like Australia and India, some say it could be meant as a thumb in China's eye—and maybe even an attempt to distance himself from former President Obama, who'd made it a priority to steer foreign policy toward dealings in a 21st-century "Asia-Pacific." More on Trump's trip abroad:

  • The itinerary: NPR has a preview of what to expect on each leg of the journey, from Japan to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Included is a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.
  • A balancing act. What ABC News says is the "dark cloud hovering" over the entire visit is North Korea, and Trump will be meeting with both friends and foes there (though he apparently won't be visiting the DMZ). He'll have to save some of his energy, though, for his stop in China, where despite the close relationship he claims to have with President Xi Jinping, he'll be confronted with complexities such as Chinese theft of intellectual property and trade issues—all while trying to get China to help tamp down North Korea.
  • Getting personal. The Washington Post touches on those supposed tight bonds Trump has with world leaders like Xi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, though it wonders if "such bonhomie can pay dividends on a grander scale." There's also concern about whether Trump will rile anyone up with offensive remarks, which even Trump himself acknowledged at a recent Cabinet meeting. "I don't want to embarrass anybody four days before I land in China," he said. Also of note: how Trump's "America First" policy might play out overseas.

  • He can run, but he can't hide. That's the take of CNN, which notes Trump's political woes back in the US "are coming along for the ride." Among the issues he'll have only an illusory respite from: his tanking approval numbers, a string of legislative fails, and the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller.
  • What's for dinner? CNN also notes the prep work that's gone into this trip for "months," including what's involved in making sure the president is kept "engaged and upbeat" and not yanked "outside his comfort zone." Key in that mandate is ensuring the menu is familiar. "No whole fish with the heads still on, nothing too spicy" has been a partial instruction, says one person involved in the planning.
  • Meanwhile, in the Ivanka sphere… The first daughter is already in Japan, and the Hill reports she gave a talk on sexual harassment in the workplace Friday at the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo. "All too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect," she noted during her speech. However, the Guardian notes the venue was "half-empty" and that her words conjured memories of President Trump's now-famous Access Hollywood comments, in which he seemed to condone sexual assault.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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