Asia

When President Trump returned this week from a 12-day, five-nation swing through Asia, he gave himself high marks for the "tremendous success of this trip."

But experts say that while he avoided major blunders during his stops in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, the president missed more than one opportunity to offer his administration's strategic vision for the region — the world's largest, most populous and fastest growing.

Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET

President Trump said goodbye to Asia on Tuesday after visiting five countries, attending three international summits and meeting with more than half-a-dozen foreign leaders.

"I think we made a lot of progress just in terms of relationship," Trump told reporters as Air Force One left Manila. "We actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things and I think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly."

As handshake diplomacy goes, this time it might not be quite as awkward as it first appears for President Trump: In photos with Asian leaders at a summit in the Philippines, he is momentarily caught off-guard by what is called the 'ASEAN-way handshake' – crossed arms and joined arms meant to signify regional unity.

President Trump, in Manila on the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations, only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

President Trump — in the harshest language on trade so far on his five-nation tour of Asia — told a regional summit in Vietnam that his administration "will not tolerate" continued trade abuses and that countries must "follow the rules" if they want to do business with the U.S.

Engaging the Chinese on North Korea and trade were President Trump's two priorities this week in Beijing — and engage he did, but Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave little indication he was ready to budge any further on either issue.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping say they have agreed to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea and closer cooperation on trade.

In a joint statement delivered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People with Xi, Trump praised the Chinese president as "a very special man," and earlier, he said the two enjoyed "great chemistry." The Chinese leader emphasized that while the two economic and military giants would occasionally have differences, there were opportunities to be "mutually reinforcing."

After stops in Japan and South Korea, President Trump arrived in China on Wednesday, the third of his five stops in Asia this week. He had tea and dinner, and took in some opera, with China's leader Xi Jinping. On Thursday, they will hold bilateral talks. On the table will be the trade imbalance between the countries that Trump hopes to rectify and ongoing provocations from China's intransigent neighbor, North Korea.

Even as the world — especially Asian nations — looks on, no one is watching this leg of Trump's swing through Asia with more trepidation than Taiwan.

Soft lounge music pipes through the speakers as elegantly dressed shoppers peruse organic produce and meats at City'super, one of Shanghai's most upscale markets, a cross between Whole Foods and Louis Vuitton. But one look at the price of an American steak is enough to conjure a mental scratch of a needle across this soothing soundtrack: Nearly $60 for a pound of USDA Prime ribeye.

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