Australia’s US Ambassador Hockey shares his views on Trump’s first year

12 December 2017

Australia's Ambassador to the United States the Hon Joe Hockey has joined ANU College of Asia and the Pacific academics Dr Amy King and Dr Shiro Armstrong to discuss the first year of the Trump Presidency.

In a discussion at ANU hosted by Sky News Political Editor David Speers, Mr Hockey discussed Mr Trump's domestic support as well as key foreign policy challenges, such as North Korea, relations with China, and the US decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Mr Hockey said while President Trump had a different way of doing things, that did not mean US influence was in decline.

"Just because it is unconventional doesn't mean the outcomes are worse," Mr Hockey said.

Domestically, Mr Hockey said Mr Trump's support base across the US was built on a deep resentment against educated elites in the US, and those supporters were still strongly behind their President.

On the TPP, Dr Armstrong said the US decision to withdraw from the trade agreement was a significant moment in President Trump's first year.

"It was a pretty big blow, beyond the symbolism," said Dr Armstrong, who is Director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and Editor of the East Asia Forum at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

Mr Hockey, however, said the TPP decision was seen in the US as being all about trade.

"But it doesn't indicate it (the US) is exiting the region. That is emphatically wrong," Mr Hockey said.

On China, Dr King said Australia needed to increase its bilateral engagement on defence and security.

"We don't do enough in the security space with China," said Dr King, from the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

"China is the major power we are going to have to deal with in this region."

Mr Hockey said China was increasing its activity around trying to ensure peace with North Korea, with Kim Jong-un's regime the biggest threat to world peace.

Mr Hockey said years of strategic patience on North Korea had not worked.

"Rolling over and tickling the tummy of Kim Jong-un is not going to work," he said.


Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team