Barack Obama faces tough questions on President-elect Donald Trump on last foreign trip

From Obama down, officials have stressed that US economic and strategic interests have not changed as a result of the election, and Trump may yet recalibrate his views.

By: AFP | Lima | Published:November 19, 2016 6:27 pm
barack obama, donald trump, barack obama tour, obama foreign tour, obama last tour, world news, US news President Barack Obama. (AP Photo)

Barack Obama begins the final foreign visit of his eight-year presidency Saturday in Peru, facing tough questions from assembled Pacific leaders about Donald Trump’s election victory. Obama is in Lima for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that is likely to focus heavily on Trump’s shock victory.

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Today, he will meet leaders of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which Trump has opposed and now faces an uncertain future. White House officials admit the chances of passing the deal are slim, but Obama will urge leaders to give the new president time to formulate policy.

From Obama down, officials have stressed that US economic and strategic interests have not changed as a result of the election, and Trump may yet recalibrate his views.

“It’s only been 10 days since the election,” said US Trade Representative Michael Froman. He warned of “serious” strategic and economic costs if the United States walks away from the deal, designed to be a cornerstone of US influence in the Asia-Pacific region. But there is little chance of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress ratifying TPP anytime soon.

“I think that is a real blow to US interests, economically and strategically, in terms of our position in Asia, but I think that is the reality, that the US is not going to be participating,” said Matthew Goodman, an expert on Asian economics with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“But there are 11 other countries in TPP and I think that it is possible that they will agree to go ahead and pass TPP,” he said in an interview, adding that they could “tweak” the agreement to keep it alive without the US. Some allies are turning their attention to a rival Chinese-backed free trade agreement.

Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, who took domestic political risks to back the US trade deal, visited Trump in New York on Thursday to hear from the president-elect himself. Trump has sparked concern in Japan and South Korea in particular by questioning decades-old mutual defense obligations that underpin their security. Ahead of Obama’s visit, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told AFP allies should expect those obligations to hold.

“It is manifestly in the United States’s interests for these alliances to endure and to be a source of confidence to our partners and for them to understand that they don’t need to come out from under the US umbrella,” she said.

While stressing that she did not want to speculate about Trump’s foreign policy, she sought to reassure key US allies in NATO and the Pacific Rim that they will not be abandoned. Many Pacific nations are clamoring for deeper trade ties with the rest of the world.

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  1. C
    Nov 19, 2016 at 5:15 pm
    C p Chandra das from Memphis, USA lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;It is true, the election results , shocked the world. But immediately after the results,lt;br/gt;Trump praised his rival in superlative terms. Obama and Hillary Clinton praised US system of democracy. USA will continue as;br/gt;The president elect nilly willy will have to continue the earlier policies followed by his predecessors. A brickbwall will not be constructed as announce by him earlier. The country cannot be changed to a real estate business as well. The USA will have to play the leadership role as before , with the needed human touch. The present presidentlt;br/gt;Can safely take the stand taken by him earlier, in the Asia meet , the last foreign trip of Obama's. The new president will nilly willy , follow the same rules, with minor changes, lt;br/gt;To enable the country to continue as the land to attract more immigrants, as before
  2. V
    Vaidya Raman
    Nov 19, 2016 at 9:10 pm
    Now that Tump has everged as the winner to become Presidnet, how far the US relationshn with India is going to be? either remain or improve?However Pm Modi already congratulated Trump for teh success in advance,which source way for his earliest visit to India for furtehr stengthening the relatioshipl.