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View From Asia: Reaction To Trump's White House Victory


All morning, we'll be checking in with our correspondents around the globe to see how the world is reacting to the election of Donald Trump.


And let's turn now to Seoul, South Korea, where we find our colleague Elise Hu. Elise, good morning.

ELISE HU, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: So what is the view from Asia of this big news?

HU: A lot of stunned disbelief, David. Regionally, and as has been the case with the global markets, there's a lot of real uncertainty right now. As you know, this campaign season has really been driven by personality and not policy. And that means there's a lot of open questions. Now, Donald Trump has made a lot of statements on the topic of Asia, full of bluster, things like slapping giant tariffs on Chinese imports and pulling troops out of U.S. alliance partners Korea and Japan. But there's no clear sense right now of what he's actually going to do once he's in power, but wide expectation that something will change.

MONTAGNE: And, Elise, you are a 90-minute drive from the border with North Korea, which has steadily increased its nuclear capacity over the last eight years. What do we know about how a President Trump will take American policy - where it will take it with regard to North Korea?

HU: Well, the president-elect has said very little with regard to this flashpoint, which is an extremely complex one because it involves China. It involves the entire North East Asian region really working together. I spoke with John Delury about this. He's a China historian and North Korea expert who teaches at Yonsei University here in Seoul.

JOHN DELURY: Does Donald Trump have a North Korea policy? I think that's one of the first questions we need to ask. What has he said? He said he would sit down with Kim Jong Un, which, OK, that actually might be an all right starting point, but what's the conversation? What's the strategy? What's the policy?

GREENE: OK, Elise, so briefly put this altogether. What do you do if you're South Korean leaders? You don't know what the U.S. president is going to exactly do when you're dealing with something sensitive like North Korea.

HU: Well, they are a partner, of course, to the U.S. in formulating policy on North Korea. A lot of emergency meetings are actually happening here tonight to talk out not only national security concerns, but also trade and economic concerns. We are in uncharted waters here in Northeast Asia.

GREENE: OK, that is NPR's Elise Hu, one of the foreign correspondents at NPR who we'll be checking in with about reaction this morning. Thanks, Elise.

HU: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.