US President Donald Trump departed Washington on Friday for his first visit to Asia, a 12-day swing through five countries: Japan, South Korea and China with stops for regional summits in Vietnam and the Philippines, amid high concerns of a nuclear-armed North Korea. He will skip a trip to the Demilitarized Zone on the dividing line between the two Koreas. White House aides, commenting on the trip, said the president is committed to applying “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang to head off its nuclear threat and resolve the situation peacefully.
After meeting Japan’s Shinzo Abe in Tokyo Sunday, he will hold critical bilateral meetings with China’s Xi Jinping and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. Trump may also use the chance of a summit in Vietnam for a private word with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the two major speeches of his tour will be before the National Assembly in Seoul.
Before setting out, Trump and the first lady paid a symbolic visit and laid a wreath at the Pearl Harbor memorial on Friday.