Overseas, Trump Speech Draws Mixed Reaction
U.S. President Donald Trump’s wide-ranging speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress painted a bright future for America, but drew a mixed reaction from world leaders.
Japan was receptive to Trump’s plan to significantly boost defense spending as the island nation continues to face a nuclear threat in North Korea and increasing Chinese hostility in the Pacific.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said Wednesday the country would have to wait and see how much Trump actually boosts defense spending, but regardless of the final number, any increase would help create world stability.
Earlier this week, Trump said he wants to increase military spending by $54 billion and recoup that money by cutting it from other, non-military government programs. The pledged increase in spending is seen as a show of commitment by Japanese officials, who had initially been concerned that Trump would shy away from the alliance.
The Chinese were less enthralled with Trump’s speech, taking issue with his criticisms that one-sided trade deals have led to tens of thousands of factories relocating from the U.S. to China.
Trump said. “We’ve lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved, and we’ve lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Our trade deficit in goods with the world last year was nearly $800 billion dollars. And overseas, we have inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters.”
China says that’s not exactly the case. Geng Shuang, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said the China-U.S. trade relationship has been “of mutual benefit,” and pointed to a recent report produced by the U.S. China Business Council (USCBC) that shows bilateral trade and investment created 2.65 million jobs in the United States in 2015.
“I think this figure speaks volumes,” he said.
Geng said China is willing to “expand and deepen” bilateral trade between the two countries, in an effort to “further benefit people in the two countries and around the world.” Companies from the United States and other countries have complained of unfair competition in China, where they are severely restricted from operating in many lucrative industries, like finance and telecom.
In Russia, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said no one in the government felt put-off, because Trump didn’t specifically mention the country in his speech. Instead, Dmitry Peskov said it is “natural” for a president to be busy with American affairs while our president Putin is busy with Russian affairs.”
Peskov said there are areas where American and Russian interests overlap. He mentioned the war on terror as one such area of interest and said Moscow is “full of patience” in its quest to work with Washington on global issues.
WATCH: Trump’s speech before congress