Presidential Debate Perspectives from Asia
By Michael Martina and Nobuhiro Kubo (Reuters)
Hillary Clinton put Donald Trump on the defensive and showed a better grasp of foreign policy issues, according to a sampling of people across Asia who watched the fiery first U.S. presidential debate.
In China, the debate was streamed live on China's Twitter-like Weibo service and attracted thousands of comments despite the lack of a translation into Chinese.
Some called Trump "a loose cannon", while others thought that as a businessman he was best qualified to lead the world's largest economy.
William Hua, a Chinese lawyer who watched the debate at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Beijing, said he thought Clinton came out on top.
He was most concerned, though, about an issue that didn't come up in the debate. "Donald Trump says Japan and South Korea can develop nuclear weapons? It seems absolutely ridiculous," Hua said.
Trump said in an interview with The New York Times in March he would consider letting Japan and South Korea build their own nuclear weapons, rather than rely on America for protection against North Korea.
Opinion polls have shown the two candidates in a tight race leading up to the debate.
A CNN poll of debate watchers released after the event found 62 percent felt Clinton won compared to 27 percent for Trump.
In a sign investors also saw Clinton as the winner, U.S. S&P500 stock futures rose as did Asian shares. "Markets started to call the debate for Hillary within the first 15 minutes or so, with the Mexican peso surging in what is probably its busiest Asian session in years," said Sean Callow, a senior currency analyst at Westpac in Sydney.
The Mexican currency has risen and fallen in recent weeks depending on polling numbers for Trump, who has vowed to take trade protectionist measure against the United States' southern neighbor and build a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration.
Trump raised eyebrows among a packed crowd watching the debate at The American Club in Singapore when he lashed out against China.
"Look at what China is doing to our country," Trump said not long after the debate began. "They are devaluing their currency and we have nobody in our government to fight them ... They are using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing."
Landy Eng, a former employee of the California state government who's been living in Singapore the past 20 years, said he was an undecided voter. "But Trump's China-bashing is something I'm not particularly in favor of," he said.
Still, Eng said he does like the "disruptive" factor of Trump's campaign and thinks it is making Clinton a better candidate.
Aloysius Lee, a 65-year-old retiree from Hong Kong, who watched the debate at The Foreign Correspondents' Club in the territory, said that Trump was too unpredictable.
"Hillary is the kind of person you can do business with, at least from my point of view," Lee said. With Trump, "you don't know what's going to happen next, you don't know what he's going to say next".
North Asia Alliances
South Koreans, watching the debate on TV screens in the lobby of Seoul's central train station, said they were with Clinton on the issues.
"Trump has ideas of withdrawing U.S. forces from our country, and in terms of national security, Trump is a threatening figure," said Lee Hyo-jin, 26. "So I support Hillary," she said.
Trump during the debate again said if U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea "don't pay their fair share, they may have to defend themselves or help us out."
Asked about Trump's comment, Japan's Defence Minister Tomomi Inada told a regularly scheduled news conference on Tuesday the U.S.-Japan military alliance does not just benefit Japan "but is also in the interests of the United States."
Clinton seemed to have the better temperament during the debate, according to some Asian viewers.
Li Jiaoli, 21, an editing intern from China's southwestern province of Sichuan, said Clinton seemed more presidential while Trump's expressions made her laugh.
"Trump's responses were too aggressive. High-level politicians should have more self-control," Li said.
The debate prompted a storm of tweets around the region, many of them commenting on the optics of the debate.
"Trump is looking worked up and angry and sulky and shouty -She looks utterly in control by contrast," said Barkha Dutt, news anchor on India's NDTV in a tweet. "She ignores his barbs & attacks; he gets baited by every one of hers."
Mel Fryer, 30, a waitress at the Mercantile Hotel in Sydney's historic Rocks district said she was "terrified" at the prospect of a Trump presidency, while the debate screened to an empty pub. "But he's going ok," she said of his debate performance. "He uses simple words and simple phrases and gets his point across."
- Trump and Trade
- The Appeal of Trump's America First
- Obama's Presidency by the Numbers
- The Russian Honeypot
- Will Trump Get a Handle on Things?
- Draining the Swamp How-To Guide
- Exploding Inequality is Killing Democracy
- Calling Working People of All Colors
- Reducing Inequality in the Trump Era
- Donald Trump, the Middle East, and American Foreign Policy
- Jeff Sessions: Trump's Most Dangerous Cabinet Pick
- Trump and the Iran Nuclear Deal
- United States Presidential Inaugurations
- Trump Set To Become The Oldest President
- The American Public's Assessment Of Obama's Two Terms
- Obama's Legacy: Growth, Debt & Employment
- Trump Currency Bump: Jubilant Ruble & Declining Peso
- Trump and Israel: Big-League Issues and Huge Repercussions
- How Trump Changed Everything (2016-2020)
- The Crusades Are Back, With a Vengeance
- How Inequality Undermines Democracy
- Crony Capitalism Made Rick Perry Energy Secretary
- From Here to Dystopia
- Trump Taking on Wall Street, Literally
- Who Voted for Wall Street?
- Foreign Meddling in Our Vote
- Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un: Soul Brothers?
- The Pentagon's $125-Billion Cover-up
- The Year of 'Post-Truth'
- Americans Think Fake News Has an Impact
- American Cities With the Highest Murder Rates
- Populist Challenge and Political Judgement
- The Last Days of Democracy?
- Trump, China and Hawkish Campaign Rhetoric
- The Dangers of Big Philanthropy
- A New Populism in the Trump Era
- Explaining Donald Trump's Victory
- Political Earthquake With No Precedent
- What Election Analysts Can Learn
- How Obama's Legacy Lost the Election
- Big Money Won in 2016
- America's Dark Underbelly Is Now Its Face
- The Statue of Trumperty
- Trump Doesn't Sound Like Our Voice
- This Election Wasn't About Trump
- Bartleby the American
- Sorry, I Can't Give Trump a Chance
- Obama's Foreign Policy Legacy
- Uncle Sam Needs a Better Handle on Your Money
- Careful What You Wish For
- How to Strengthen Our Democracy Beyond Voting
- An Appetite for Action on Tax Reform
- Trump vs Clinton: The Final Round
- 2016 Election Results
- 2016 Election Polls & Results
- Trump is the Nation's Abuser-in-Chief
- Hillary Clinton and the Neocons
- How Voter Turnout Could Put Trump in The White House
- Trump the Arsonist
- Us vs Them: How Neurophilosophy Explains Our Divided Politics
- It's Rigged: Takes One to Know One
- Walling Them Out, or Walling Us In?
- A Historic Election for Women and Not Just Because of Hillary
- The Myth of Trump's Alternative Worldview
- Hillary Clinton: A Hawk in the Wings
- The Future of Civil Rights is Up To the Supreme Court
- How Accurate are Election Polls?
- What Would Happen If Donald Trump Decided to Challenge the Election Results
- Republicans Would Reject 'Rigged' Election Result If Hillary Clinton Wins
- My Trump-Like Bully
- Is Trump Committed to Democratic Rule of Law?
- Trump Was Born on Third Base
- Clinton Expands Into 'Red' States; Trump Again Claims Fraud
- Clinton Wins All Three Debates
- The Best and Worst Presidents on Taxes
- Revolutions Don't End On Election Day
- Hillary's Surprising Debate Stumble on Trade
- Scott Walker's Political Magic
- Prominent GOP Leaders Denouncing Trump
- The Reduction of Muslim Americans
- Wikileaks Offers Glimpse of Clinton Team's Early Thoughts on Trump
- Presidential Debate: Supreme Court, the Second Amendment & Abortion
- Presidential Debate: Immigration, Russian Involvement in the US Election
- Presidential Debate: Taxes, Trade Deals & Foreign Military Aid
- Presidential Debate: Presidential Fitness
- Presidential Debate: Foreign Hot Spots
- Forbes Pegs Trump's Wealth at $3.7 Billion, $800 Million Less Than Last Year
- Trump's 1995 Tax Records Suggest No Federal Taxes For Years
- Clinton Assails Trump in Blistering Debate
- Trump Unable to Capitalize
- Clinton's Odds of Winning Presidency Jumps
- Clinton vs Trump Debate by the Numbers
- Presidential Debate Reaction
- Presidential Debate Perspectives from Asia
- Trump's Debate Sniffles
- Clinton vs Trump Debate Photos
"Presidential Debate Perspectives from Asia"