Washington ‘Extremely Concerned’ as majority of ASEAN Leaders skip US Summit over Trump’s No-Show
…from Sputnik News, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: So Trump snubs the ASEAN conference, and they return the favor; then we have the US “spokesman” having the gall to say their snub will be bad for US relations. Is the Trump-flub disease spreading down into the State Department?
To say that the US is committed to the region and then Trump does not show up, not even a VP or Secretary of State for the 2nd time in a row, rings hollow. Domestic diplomats are supposed to guide an “unprepared” leader through the protocol on how not to make goofs like this.
This is what happens when you have a president that is “winging it” and is uncomfortable with being “corrected”. He is intimidated by experienced professional staff who know a lot more than he does, so he brings in political flunkies, as they are good butt-kissers.
The country gets hurt in the process with avoidable silliness like this happening. I would suspect that Trump is really focused on not only “impeachment one”, which is coming up, but “impeachment two” waiting in the wings when his appeals run out on the New York attorney general wanting his tax returns.
It will be harder for the Senate Repubs to brush that off, since an appeals court has ruled that a sitting president is not immune from criminal prosecution. The whole idea of releasing tax returns ahead of time was to avoid such issues even coming up. Everyone before Trump had released their returns.
Trump had a good reason for not showing his; and I think we are all going to find out why. Many of his legal cases that were handled civilly, like his school scam. We would not have gotten off with settlements and fines, but he did… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … November 11, 2019 –
President Trump did not attend this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, with the US represented instead by his national security advisor, Robert O’Brien.
A US diplomat has voiced Washington’s ‘extreme’ concern over the move by the majority of ASEAN’s leaders not to personally attend a special ASEAN-US summit on Monday.
“We are extremely concerned by the apparent decision,” the diplomat said, commenting on the snub, his remarks quoted by Kyodo News.
“A full or partial boycott by ASEAN leaders will be seen as an intentional effort to embarrass the President of the United States of America and this will be very damaging to the substance of the ASEAN-US relations,” the diplomat added.
The heads of state and government of seven of ASEAN’s ten members moved to skip the ASEAN-US Summit slated to take place on Monday.
The leaders of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines downgraded their representation at Monday’s summit with the US by sending only their foreign ministers, with only a ‘troika’ comprising the prime ministers of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos showing up to the meeting with O’Brien.
The demonstrative decision was made on Friday, according to diplomatic sources cited by Kyodo News.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did travel to Bangkok along with O’Brien, where he said that the Trump administration was “extremely engaged in and fully committed to this region.”
This was the second year in a row that Trump has failed to show up at the annual gathering of Southeast Asian nations. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence attended the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore. Trump attended the summit in Manila, the Philippines in 2017.
Late last week, following reports that Trump would not attend the Bangkok Summit, Panitan Wattanayagorn, chairman of the security advisory committee for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, told the Bangkok Post that there were a number of possible reasons for Trump to skip summits.