President Donald Trump's "America First" policy will not hinder U.S. ties with Asia, according to a fellow at a nonpartisan think tank.
"I am confident that even as President Trump pivots to America, this pivot can include smarter and stronger U.S.-Asia ties," said Curtis Chin, Asia fellow at Milken Institute, in a Squawk Box interview.
"Grand multilateral trade deals" such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement are things of the past, Chin said, but the new administration will focus on developing stronger relations with individual Asian states, such as Japan and Vietnam.
Japan is among the closest U.S. military allies and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Asian leader to meet with the new American president last month, and even played several rounds of golf at Trump's exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Both countries have said the trip signaled the importance that both leaders place on the U.S.-Japan relationship.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been working towards closer defense links and joint military exercises with Vietnam, after fully lifting its lethal arms embargo on the emerging economy last May.
Vietnam was part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and has sought wider ties with the U.S. as a hedge against its powerful northern neighbor, China, which it is embroiled in territorial dispute with over areas in the South China Sea.