President Donald Trump has hinted at a more muscular US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific. In tweets and speeches since the election, he has adopted a hard-line on China’s island-building in the South China Sea, vowed to prevent North Korea from acquiring a functional nuclear missile, condemned Beijing over its unfair trade practices, and raised the spectre of deeper US-Taiwan relations.
His Asia team is shaping up to reflect Trump’s hawkish stance towards China on trade and security. But it is also likely to be an eclectic group whose perspectives on other Asia policy issues differ both internally and with figures on the national security cabinet. Australia will have to prepare for a more turbulent US- China relationship, as well as greater uncertainty in Washington’s Asia policy.