ReutersBEIJING/TOKYO (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 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 did not 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.
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.
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 Defense 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.”Speech