The White House is calling President Donald Trump’s trip to China the largest overseas trip by a sitting U.S. president since the U.K. took Britain out of the European Union.
Trump will travel to China, the Philippines and Singapore to lay the groundwork for his China trip in the coming weeks.
The trip comes after the Trump administration announced the cancellation of a $150 billion aid package for Southeast Asia and a decision to reduce the United States’ annual aid to Southeast Asia by more than a third, to $20 billion.
China, however, was one of the most requested foreign travel destinations by the White House.
While the Philippines is the most-requested destination by the Trump team, the White the administration is not giving up on the Philippines as a possible destination.
“We’re very much looking forward to taking President Trump to the nation of the Philippines,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said during a White House press briefing, adding that the visit will be the first since the White house announced the decision to cut off aid.
When asked by reporters if the visit would be a symbolic act, McMaster added that it would be.
McMaster also said that Trump will be visiting the Philippines with Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and other key White House officials, who will be traveling from the U, S. Embassy in Manila to the city.
For his part, Trump is expected to lay out his vision for the U., S. and Pacific Rim, the Pacific region, and the Asia-Pacific region in his bilateral talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
This trip is the first time a sitting president will be to Southeast Asian countries, as well as Southeast Asia’s biggest economies, since the Philippines left the European bloc.
According to the Whitehouse, Duterte will also be visiting Singapore and Indonesia.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, “President Trump will meet with leaders from Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.”
Trump’s trip has already been delayed by the threat of a lawsuit by the Justice Department against the Trump Organization over its ties to the country.