President Donald Trump has wrapped up his gruelling Asia tour and headed home with the final leg of his trip in the Philippines concluding earlier than scheduled. The American leader said his two-week-long trip has been "tremendously successful" and trumpeted trade agreements quoting figures wildly ranging from $300bn to a trillion.
In early November, Trump kicked off his 12-day trip – the longest by any American president in a quarter of a century – visiting Japan, one of Washington's vital allies which is under threat from neighbouring North Korea. His visit comes at a time when the situation in the Korean peninsula remains tense, thanks to Pyongyang's defiant acts.
Trump told reporters on board Air Force One that his latest five-nation tour has generated trade deals worth at least $300bn. He went on to state that the actual figure could be three times more in the future.
When repeatedly questioned about the unconfirmed dollar figure, Trump upped the original figure and said the deal "is going to be quadrupled very quickly, so that's over a trillion dollars' worth of stuff."
However, Trump did not elaborate on the specifics of how he arrived at the figures leaving it to others in his administration to tackle.
"We've explained that the United States is open for trade but we want reciprocal, we want fair trade for the United States," said Trump, the Associated Press reports. Besides the threats emerging from North Korea, trade was on top of Trump's agenda during the marathon Asia trip.
"I think the fruits of our labour are going to be incredible, whether it's security of our nations, whether it's security of the world or whether it's trade," he added.
Prior to leaving the Philippines, Trump wrote on Twitter: "The United States has to be treated fairly and in a reciprocal fashion. The massive TRADE deficits must go down quickly!"
Because of scheduling delays, Trump decided to skip the plenary session of a regional summit in Manila on Tuesday, 14 November. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is attending the summit of East and Southeast Asian leaders instead of the president.