to visit Asia Nov. 3-14, focus on N. Korea
President Donald Trump will travel to Asia, including Japan,
South Korea and China, from Nov. 3-14 as the United States steps up
coordination with regional allies and partners in curbing the rising
nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the White House said Friday.
In what will be his first visit to Asia since taking office in
January, Trump is also scheduled to visit Vietnam for a summit of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Philippines for
Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related summits, it said in a
An itinerary for the five-nation trip -- which also includes a
stop in Hawaii -- has not been released. But Trump, to be accompanied
by first lady Melania, will start the tour with a visit to Japan
around Nov. 5 and meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 6,
according to diplomatic sources.
Making Japan the first destination in Asia shows that Trump
attaches importance to Washington's alliance with Tokyo, a U.S.
official said. After Japan, the president will travel to South Korea,
China, Vietnam and the Philippines in that order.
Trump tours the region as North Korea, in defiance of
international condemnation and pressure, continues missile and
nuclear weapons tests as part of its ongoing effort to develop a
nuclear-tipped missile that could strike as far away as the United
On Sept. 3, Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful
nuclear test with the detonation of what it said was a hydrogen bomb
that can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
"The president's engagements will strengthen the international
resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete,
verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula," the White House statement said.
The Trump administration says it is keeping all options --
including military ones -- on the table in dealing with North Korea.
Amid doubts about Trump's engagement in the Asia-Pacific region
following the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
trade deal soon after his inauguration, the upcoming trip
demonstrates "his continued commitment to the alliances and
partnerships of the United States in the region," the statement said.
Aside from North Korea, the businessman-turned-president is
expected to focus on bilateral economic issues such as ways to reduce
U.S. trade deficits with China, Japan and other surplus-generating
countries, as well as regional issues such as Beijing's assertive
territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Asian leaders appear eager to figure out U.S. policy toward Asia
as Trump has yet to present any comprehensive agenda concerning the
region after abandoning his predecessor Barack Obama's policy of a
strategic rebalance, or "pivot," to the Asia-Pacific, of which
TPP was a major pillar.
"President Trump will discuss the importance of a free and open
Indo-Pacific region to America's prosperity and security," the
statement said. "He will also emphasize the importance of fair and
reciprocal economic ties with America's trade partners."
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Sept. 29)