Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on “chronic trade abuses” on Friday, warning an audience of world leaders at a summit in Vietnam that he will always “put America first”.
The US president also resumed his tough talk on North Korea as he sought to rally Asia-Pacific nations into confronting the “twisted fantasies” of Pyongyang’s young leader Kim Jong-un.
Mr Trump was speaking to a gathering of CEOs at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the city of Danang after arriving from a three-day visit to Beijing were he had softened his tone on trade and North Korea.
But in Vientnam Mr Trump said that America will not "be taken advantage of any longer" with unequal trade policies.
“We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses and we will not tolerate them,” he said.
He also struck a defiant tone towards Pyongyang, saying the region's future "must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail.”
Donald Trump's in Asia tour, in pictures
During his China trip he called on the North to “make a deal”, but also urged China and Russia to increase their efforts in reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon’s programme.
In Vietnam he reverted to the more direct language he used in South Korea earlier in his Asian tour when he spoke of the increasing threat to all nations from Pyongyang’s military build-up.
“Every single step the North Korea regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese president Xi Jinping, who is seeking to pitch Beijing as the centre of a new globalist order, told the summit that globalisation is an "irreversible historical trend".
Confusion over Putin meeting
The APEC meeting is also being attended by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who was expected by some to meet with Mr Trump.
But mixed messages from Washington and Moscow continued on Friday on the potential talks.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said as the US president arrived in Vietnam that a “scheduling conflict” meant the leaders would not be able to formally meet.
Her comments came a day after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said there was no reason for talks to take place when differences between Washington and Moscow exist over Syria and Ukraine.
The White House said it was still possible that Mr Trump could hold an unofficial meeting with his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the APEC summit, or later when both men will be in the Philippines.
And the Kremlin said on Friday that Mr Putin will meet Mr Trump “one way or another”.
Mr Trump’s presidency has been dogged by allegations that his election campaign colluded with Russia to help him get into the White House.
An investigation into the matter led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, recently brought criminal charges against three former advisers to Mr Trump.
Chinese media upbeat over 'state visit plus'
The US president flew to Vietnam from China, where he made a three-day visit which saw him praising Mr Xi.
In one of his final Tweets from the Chinese capital he described his trip as being “very productive” and described Mr Xi as “highly respected”.
China deploys a soldier to watch Donald Trump’s feet in case he fell on the stairs after talks with Xi Jinping pic.twitter.com/5aNOLw1YsA
— Neil Connor (@neilaconnor) November 9, 2017
Chinese state media was upbeat on what was billed as a ‘state visit plus’ as Mr Trump flew to Vietnam without his wife, who was stayed in Beijing to visit a zoo and the Great Wall.
The Global Times newspaper said Mr Trump was changing his views on China. He had “softening his tone” on trade and had “gradually learned that Beijing is indeed making selfless contributions” towards confronting Pyongyang, it said.
The China Daily said that while differences that had been “pestering bilateral ties” had not “instantly disappeared,” it was positive on “the constructive approach to these issues the two leaders demonstrated.”
After his visit to Vietnam, Mr Trump will on Saturday head to Manila for the East Asia Summit and a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mr Trump has also visited Japan during his five-nation 11 day tour of Asia.