Open Forum

Rarely has there been such a tumultuous period in US foreign policy, reflected in DC discussions of it; many unknown figures were joining a new administration as lines of authority and influence were not only in flux, they were in chaos. Few in the think tank community spoke for the Trump team, but on Asia policy, there were also few who were not relieved as it pulled back on plans for a radical break from the Obama era. The administration may have appeared to be a bunch of bunglers, leakers, and back-stabbers, but, gradually, on East Asia they were reverting to a degree of order. Yet, the setback in US-Australian relations from the Trump-Turnbull phone call and the lack of clarity about the US response to North Korea’s missile launch were just two signs that there remained ample reason for wariness over events in this region. In the forefront was uncertainty about US China policy after the turnabout from no confirmation to confirmation of the “one-China policy” in the span of two months.

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