US President Donald Trump created history on Tuesday by holding bilateral talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore — a first by a head of state since the Korean War in 1950. Despite recent tensions between the two countries, the summit proved to be fruitful with their leaders signing a “comprehensive” document and agreeing to further diplomatic ties.
Trump’s handling of North Korea is likely to go down as one of the highlights of his presidency. However, this wasn’t the first time Trump, known for his unconventional diplomatic manoeuvres, majorly influenced America’s foreign policy.
Trade dispute with China
In a bid to strengthen his ‘America First’ policy, the US President recently announced import tariffs for steel and aluminium products. Targeting China, the President announced sanctions on over 1,000 products being shipped from the country. Trump accused China of breaching intellectual property law and participating in unfair business practices. He clamped down on the imports after revealing that China has an unfair advantage as it forces US investors to turn over key technologies to Chinese firms.
The sanctions triggered fears of a trade war between the two largest economies after China responded with its own sanctions on American products.
Trump believes unfair trade practices have resulted in a loss of jobs — the premise for his America First policy.
Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Last December, in a major policy shift, Trump directed the State Department to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move was widely viewed as a clear sign of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a claim contested by Palestine. Trump said it was a “new approach” to address the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Both countries claim the ancient city, which is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, belongs to them.
US withdraws from Iran nuclear deal
Last month, Trump withdrew the US from the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran. Calling the 2015 deal “defective to the core”, he said it gave Iran millions of dollars in cash and did not prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
US suspends security assistance to Pakistan
In January this year, the US suspended financial aid to Pakistan after Trump observed that “they have given us nothing but lies and deceit”. Since the terrorist attack in 9/11, the US has given the country, a key nuclear ally, over $33 billion for coalition support funds, economic support and military assistance.
The government said it would freeze the funds “until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against terror groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network”.