President Trump touted the accomplishments of his 12-day trip to Asia on Wednesday by highlighting the image of a “strong, proud and confident America” that he said he brought to the five countries he visited on his first trip to the continent as president
“In Asia, our message was clear and well-received: America is here to compete, to do business, and to defend our values and our security,” Trump said in remarks at the White House one day after he returned from the Philippines.
The president said one of the major aims of his trip was to “insist on fair and reciprocal trade” with countries that he has long accused of exploiting trade agreements with the U.S. Citing his campaign-era focus on negotiating better deals for American workers, Trump said he relied on his “America First” philosophy in his dealings with Asia leaders.
“We can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs, wealth and intellectual property,” Trump said, referring to the tough talk he aimed at Chinese President Xi Jinping last week. “The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.”
“Above all, I swore that in every decision, with every action, I would put the best interest of the American people first,” Trump added.
Trump said the U.S. was prepared to strike bilateral deals with any country that is willing to enter into terms that favor the America economy.
“We will never again turn a blind eye to trading abuses,” Trump said. “Trade abuses harm the United States and its workers, but no more.”
The president also highlighted the steps he took during his trip toward cracking down on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Trump said he explained his desire to exert “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang to push the Kim Jong Un regime toward giving up its nuclear arsenal.
One of the top priorities of the journey, Trump said, was “to unite the world against the nuclear menace posed by the North Korean regime.”
“We have to denuclearize North Korea. We have ended the failed strategy of strategic patience and as a result, we have already seen important progress,” Trump said.
Trump pointed to other countries’ decisions to cut off trade and diplomatic relations with Pyongyang under pressure from the U.S. He also noted the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to impose punishing new sanctions on North Korea and groups that fund its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
“We have a Security Council that has been with us, and just about with us, from the beginning,” Trump said.