President Trump finished his marathon, five-country trip to Asia on Tuesday, capping off a 13-day journey that forced the president to confront some of the most pressing problems facing the United States.

{mosads}It was the longest foreign trip for any sitting president since George H.W. Bush and Trump’s first visit to the Asia-Pacific as commander in chief, giving him an opportunity to pressure countries in the region to do more to confront North Korea and address trade imbalances with the U.S.

Here are five takeaways from the trip.

Many words, but few actions

The president departed for Asia with two main goals: convince other nations to step up pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program and persuade them to buy more American products in order to reverse decades of trade deficits.

Asian allies, meanwhile, were looking for signs that the “America First” president had not abandoned the region after pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement earlier this year.

On North Korea, Trump gave the leaders of Japan and South Korea what they were looking for when he warned Pyongyang “do not try us” by escalating nuclear provocations.

Trade was a different story.

Trump told an audience of Asian leaders in Vietnam that he is “not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” indicating a pivot away from the multinational trade deals of the past.

The president appeared to score a quick win when he announced more than $250 billion in business deals with China. But many of the agreements were nonbinding and short on specifics.

Meanwhile, Trump was one-upped when the 11 other TPP nations announced they had reached an agreement on the core elements of a pact without the U.S.

While Trump left Asia without a major achievement, he signaled such an announcement might come on Wednesday, when he is expected to speak about trade.

The president has also said he will soon make a decision whether to place North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move designed to further isolate the rogue nation.

Flattery is a winning strategy

To Trump, the warm reception he received in Asia was enough to declare the trip a success.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Trump to the region with a round of golf with Hideki Matsuyama, one of the world’s top pros. It was the second time the two leaders have hit the links together.

While toasting Trump at a state dinner, Abe said, “When you play golf with someone not just once, but for two times, the person must be your favorite guy.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in marked the one-year anniversary of Trump’s 2016 election victory, one of the president’s favorite topics, and noted the U.S. stock market gains since then.

“You are already making great progress on making America great again,” Moon said, borrowing Trump’s signature campaign phrase.

Chinese President Xi Jinping treated Trump to a rare musical performance in Beijing’s Forbidden City and called the U.S. president’s visit “an event of historic importance.”

Asian leaders appeared to bet that the flattery could help disarm Trump, who has threatened to roil the U.S. trade and security ties in the region. So far, the wager has paid off.

“It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received,” the president said of his reception in Asia. “And that really is a sign of respect, perhaps, for me a little bit, but really for our country.”

Trump tempered his heated rhetoric on many occasions during his trip and mostly avoided pressing leaders publicly about controversial issues involving their countries.

In China, for example, Trump said he gives the government “great credit” for “being able to take advantage” of the U.S. on trade.

Human rights take a back seat

Trump appeared determined to return the favor to his Asian counterparts, celebrating the fact he made “many good friends” with leaders across the region.

One way he achieved that was by muting any public criticism of human-rights abuses in the countries he visited.

In the Philippines, Trump repeatedly praised President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a deadly crackdown on drug rings that has been decried by human-rights advocates.

“We’ve had a great relationship,” Trump said of Duterte during a meeting in Manila. He ignored reporters’ questions about human rights.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said human rights came up “briefly” in the context of the drug war.

In a departure from his predecessors, Trump did not call out China for its restrictions on political dissent, free speech and religious freedom. He also did not take questions during a joint press availability with Xi.

Critics called it a missed opportunity to highlight U.S. values overseas. In a 2014 press conference with former President Barack Obama, Xi reacted angrily when asked by a The New York Times reporter about his country’s lack of press freedoms.

Russia looms large

Even though he was on the other side of the world, Trump could not escape the shadow of the Russia investigation hanging over his administration.

Some of that was Trump’s own doing. He met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and later said he believes Putin is being sincere when he claims Moscow did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The president was forced to clean up his comments, telling reporters “I’m with our agencies” on election meddling.

The remarks caused a stir back in Washington, which was consumed for days with new steps in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference, including the indictment of two former Trump campaign advisers and a guilty plea from a third.

News reports indicated that Trump’s former White House national security adviser, Michael Flynn, could be the next person to find himself in Mueller’s crosshairs.

Roy Moore decision awaits

Throughout his Asia tour, Trump was mostly able to avoid the growing firestorm surrounding Republican senate candidate Roy Moore.

That will no longer be the case once he touches down late Tuesday night at Joint Base Andrews.

The president has come under mounting pressure from Republicans to weigh in on what the party should do about Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women in the last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has called on Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race, said Tuesday a final decision won’t be made until Trump is consulted.

Influential figures of Trump’s base, however, are sticking with the former Alabama state Supreme Court chief justice, including former chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon.

That will make a decision harder for Trump.

Tags Barack Obama Mitch McConnell

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