November 10, 2016 – Asian leaders are clamoring to congratulate Donald Trump on his win in the United States presidential election, many of them having fallen from favor with the outgoing administration after accusing Washington of meddling in their internal affairs.
The Philippines Office of Communications Secretary said in a statement that President Rodrigo Duterte wished Trump success in the next four years as Chief Executive and commander-in chief of the U.S. military.
It said that it looked forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-U.S. relations anchored on “mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law”.
Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at the U.S. over criticism of his bloody war on drugs, calling on American troops to leave the archipelago and announcing Manila’s “separation” from Washington as his administration pursues an “independent” foreign policy.
“The United States presidential elections is a testament to the enduring traditions of its democratic system and the American way of life. The two-party system gives American voters freedom of choice based on party platforms, not just on personalities,” the statement added.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen took to Facebook to not just congratulate Trump, but also underline that he had supported his candidature.
“Several individuals have come out to criticize me and referring [Sic] to you, Mr. Donald Trump, as a dictator to have endorsement coming from a leader like myself,” wrote the premier, who has been in power for 31 years.
“At this moment the American voters have shown their choice to elect your excellency the same way as my support for your candidacy is not wrong either.”
Thailand, whose ruling junta was roundly criticized after it seized power in a 2014 coup, praised ties and championed democracy.
“I congratulate Donald Trump. The people’s voice must be accepted. It is a democratic principle,” Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha said on the result being announced.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a May 2014 statement that he was “disappointed” by the Thai army’s decision to overthrow the elected government and “this act will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military.”
The kingdom also figured on the U.S. list of worst human trafficking offenders, Bangkok protesting publicly, although its position has recently been upgraded.
Malaysia was also quick to congratulate, Prime Minister Najib Razak underlining in a statement that Trump was considered an outsider when he first announced his candidacy, but has gone on to prove doubters wrong by winning the Republican nomination and then the presidency.
“Trump’s success shows that politicians should never take voters for granted,” he said.
“Opinion polls, and established political figures, all underestimated the strength of his support. His appeal to Americans who have been left behind — those who want to see their government more focused on their interests and welfare, and less embroiled in foreign interventions that proved to be against US interests – have won Mr. Trump the White House.”
Malaysia’s government has come under U.S. scrutiny for alleged weak human rights protections, a poor record on combatting human trafficking, constraints on press freedom, and prosecution of opposition political leaders such as imprisoned People’s Justice Party chief Anwar Ibrahim.
Countries that have enjoyed better relations also offered their congratulations.
Singapore, like Malaysia, expressed its surprise.
“Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump! His candidacy took many by surprise. At each stage he defied expectations, and his journey has ultimately taken him to the White House,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on Facebook
“It has been a contentious, ugly election season, that has exposed a bitter divide in the American people. Many will celebrate this result, while others will understandably be surprised and disappointed. But like the Brexit referendum in June, Mr Trump’s victory is part of a broader pattern in developed countries, reflecting a deep frustration with the way things are, and a strong wish to reassert a sense of identity, and somehow to change the status quo.”
South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for the “early” establishment of cooperative ties with the incoming U.S. administration, pointing to the need for close bilateral cooperation in addressing North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.
Park also directed government officials to “do their utmost” to ensure that under the Trump administration, Seoul and Washington will “unwaveringly” work together to pressure the communist state into renouncing its nuclear ambitions through “strong” sanctions.
South Korea’s top financial regulator said that related authorities will do their best for market stabilization with an “utmost sense of tension”, as Americans caught the world off guard by choosing Trump.
“Following the U.S. presidential elections, the expansion of swings at South Korea’s financial market is expected to be inevitable,” Yim Jong-yong, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said after presiding over a joint emergency meeting with the Financial Supervisory Service to review market conditions.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Indian government was looking forward to working closely with Trump “to take India-US bilateral ties to a new height.”
“We appreciate the friendship you have articulated towards India during your campaign,” Modi tweeted.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also praised Trump’s victory, saying it was “testimony to the confidence that the people of the United States have reposed in your leadership, vision and commitment to serve your great country.”
The prime ministers of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal all published similar statements congratulating Trump on his victory.