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Trump's opening move on the chessboard

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By Donald Kirk

President Donald Trump has now made his first substantive move in foreign policy with broad repercussions for Northeast Asia, including both Korea and Japan. The consequences may be far-reaching.

By signing an executive order formally withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trump has signaled that he may actually carry out some of his bold campaign promises. He means to return jobs to American workers, to keep U.S. companies from going overseas in search of cheap labor, and to protect the American economy from neighbors near and far. That's reason for dozens of governments to review their ties with the U.S., to consider what Trump might do next and to anticipate the impact on their own economies.

Initially, of course, Trump's signing the order was strictly theater. It won't have any immediate effect. TPP had not become a reality. The concept of a dozen nations banded together engaging in tariff-free trade sounded great as advocated by President Obama, but members of both parties in the U.S. Congress saw too many flaws. Trump may be a Republican billionaire, but Democrats, including the leftist Bernie Sanders, assailed TPP as........

© The Korea Times