White House announces Trump’s travel to Asia
US President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, would travel to Asia between November 3and 14 for the first time since becoming president.
The President and his entourage are expected to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines on a trip expected to be dominated by the North Korea nuclear threat.
During the visit, Trump will attend two major summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conclave in the Philippines.
The possibility of Trump attending the Manila summit had been in doubt until recently.
Officials say the President was reluctant to reward Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who had been responsible for a number of anti-American outbursts.
A US official said Asian leaders who met Trump at the UN General Assembly in New York last week persuaded him to attend the meeting in Manila.
The President, who had been engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, would have the opportunity to bolster allied resolve for what he calls the “complete denuclearization” of Pyongyang.
He had denounced Kim as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission for test launches of ballistic missiles and for nuclear weapon tests.
He had also warned that North Korea would face “total devastation” if it threatens the US.
On his part, Kim had blasted Trump as “mentally deranged”.
“The president’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” the White House said.
Trump’s visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the US made in April by Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
Trump had applied pressure on China to rein in North Korea.
While his efforts have had limited success thus far, he went out of his way to thank Xi on Tuesday for his efforts.
Trump said at a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy: “I applaud China for breaking off all banking relationships with North Korea — something that people would have thought unthinkable even two months ago.
“I want to thank President Xi.”