WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump has embarked on an eleven day trip across Asia with stops including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The trip is considered ‘high-stakes’ because President Trump is expected to discuss the next steps in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear threat on top of key talks on trade.
Before departing Washington D.C. Friday morning, President Donald Trump said he expects great success.
“We are actually staying an extra day in the Philippines. We have a big conference. I think we are going to have great success. We will be talking about trade, North Korea, we will be enlisting the help of a lot of people and countries we will see what happens, but I think we are going to have a very successful trip. There’s a lot of good will,” he said.
Mr. Trump’s tour is likely to be dominated by the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
The U.S. is putting on a show of force in the region, deploying three aircraft carriers in the Pacific and flying two B-1 bombers in exercises with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets. North Korea’s state media called the flight a “surprise nuclear drill.” It claimed that “gangsters – like U.S. imperialists” are trying to start a nuclear war.
The White House said North Korea is running out of time to end its weapons program and President Trump said he’ll be delivering a strong message during his stops.
“I must tell you North Korea is a thing that I think we will solve and if we don’t solve it, it’s not going to be very pleasant for them, it’s not going to be very pleasant I guess for anybody,” he said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Thursday.
The White House said President Trump is also prepared to talk tough with America’s trade partners.
“Increasing prosperity of the American people is always one of President Trump’s top priorities. Throughout the trip, the president will stress his commitment to free, fair and reciprocal trade,” said National Security Advisor Gen. H. R. McMaster.
One other item may also be on the agenda. A Kremlin spokesman Friday would not rule out a meeting between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin during an economic summit in Vietnam next week.
The Trump-Putin meeting would come just a week after a former Trump campaign advisor pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about trying to arrange a meeting with President Putin and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during the election. The president calls the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia…fake news.