A look at how Trump might shake things up in Asia


CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, AP

BEIJING — Donald Trump has offered views on U.S. relations with Asia that could indicate radical shifts in long-standing policy toward the region. From opposing free trade agreements to confronting China and questioning Japan-South Korea alliances, he appears set to be charting a course far different from previous administrations. Yet, in other areas, including North Korea, India and Pakistan, Trump appears ready to carry forward well-established U.S. policy. As Trump prepares to be sworn-in as president on Friday, here is a look at some of the stand-out issues and how developments might play out: —–

TRADE — Trump says he plans to scrap the 12-nation trade pact known as the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP. The pact was the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s outreach policy to America’s Asian partners known as “the pivot,” which also involves a greater military commitment to the region. Obama said the TPP would allow the U.S. to impose higher labor, environmental and human-rights standards, as well as give U.S. businesses access to some of the fastest-growing economies. The deal would have slashed 18,000 taxes that other countries impose on American goods and services, but Congress failed to act amid skepticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Trump’s opposition to free-trade agreements has fueled fears of protectionism and puts him at odds not only with U.S. trading partners but also with many in the Republican Party. Killing the TPP may open the way for other regional free-trade initiatives, including those pushed by rival China. “With the U.S. withdrawing from TPP, Japan will have to redesign its external economic policy,” said Harukata Takenaka, politics professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Other options “may not be easy,” Takenaka said. ___

CHINA — Trump raised China in speech after speech during his campaign, at times accusing the country of ripping America off in trade and threatening a 45 percent tariff on all Chinese imports. Things turned far more serious after his election win when he took a phone call from the president of self-governing Taiwan, upending four decades of diplomatic protocol barring such direct contacts. Critics accused him of ignoring the “one-China policy,” long considered unassailable in China-U.S. relations, to which Trump responded by questioning why the U.S. should be bound by such an arrangement without economic incentives. He again touched on the issue in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday, saying “everything is under negotiation, including ‘one China.'” While the Chinese government’s response was muted, the official China Daily newspaper said he was “playing with fire.” Trump has also criticized the Chinese military’s island-building program in the South China Sea, and accused it of blocking U.S. imports through high taxes and manipulating its currency to the detriment of American exports. ___

ALLIANCES WITH JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA — Trump raised eyebrows during the campaign when he appeared to question the inviolability of long-standing U.S. military alliances with Japan and South Korea, seen as bulwarks against North Korea’s military threats and China’s push for regional dominance. The two were included in a list of countries that Trump said he would be “respectfully asking … to pay more for the tremendous security we provide them.”