Trump to tackle North Korean threat in Asia trip

  • 30/09/2017
Trump Tower in Chicago.
Trump Tower in Chicago. Photo credit: Getty

Donald Trump will travel to Asia next month for the first time since becoming President, stopping in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines on a trip expected to be dominated by the North Korea nuclear threat.

Joined by his wife Melania, Mr Trump's trip will take place from November 3 to 14. His visit will include attending two major summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conclave in the Philippines.

Mr Trump's attendance at the Manila summit had been in doubt until recent days, with officials saying he was reluctant to reward Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been responsible for a number of anti-American outbursts.

A US official said Asian leaders who met Mr Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week helped persuade him to attend in unity with key Asian allies.

The President, who has been engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will have the opportunity to bolster allied resolve for what he calls the "complete denuclearisation" of Pyongyang.

He has denounced Kim as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission for test launches of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapon tests. He has warned North Korea would face total devastation if it threatens the US. Kim has blasted Mr 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 on Friday in announcing the trip.

Mr Trump's visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the US in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr Trump has applied heavy 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.