Live but neutral coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration by Thailand and Vietnam media

People at a Democrats Abroad viewing party in Bangkok on Oct 9, 2016. Mr Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States on Jan 20 was covered live by several Thai TV stations. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK - Mr Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States on Friday (Jan 20) was covered live by several Thai TV stations, where newscasters provided simultaneous translations cum running commentaries of his speech.

Over in Vietnam, the live coverage was absent on TV networks but provided by news websites like Vnexpress, Vietnamplus, Dantri and Tuoi Tre.

The overall tone of coverage was tentative and neutral. Commentators and analysts in Thailand and Myanmar noted that it was still early days yet for the Trump presidency, and that his policy positions might be adjusted once they were confronted with the realities on the ground.

Myanmar political analyst Yan Myo Thein told The Straits Times: "His speech was highly nationalist and highly focused on the interests of United States. The US president did not mention much on international affairs, so it probably means he will focus on domestic affairs during his term."

In the next four years, he said, "the relationship between the US and Myanmar might be minimal in comparison to previous eight years. And I think the possibility of high level visit (to Myanmar) is less likely".

Over in Thailand, Ramkhamhaeng University political scientist Chaichana Inkawat told The Straits Times that while the US under Mr Trump was inclined to retreat from global politics in favour of its economic goals, it was an untenable position.

"In terms of politics, if America retreats, China will gain and Russia will too. Trump will have to rethink his foreign policy."

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