Tokyo: North Korea has been ramping up their threats toward the US picking up the pace with its testing of nuclear weapons in recent months. US President Donald Trump heads to Japan on the first stop of his five-nation tour of Asia on Saturday, looking to present a united front with the Japanese against North Korea as tensions run high over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.
Trump, who is on a 12-day trip, is to speak to U.S. and Japanese forces at Yokota air base shortly after arriving in Japan on Sunday and looked to stress the importance of the alliance to regional security.
Ballistic missile tests by North Korea and its sixth and largest nuclear test, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, have exacerbated the most critical international challenge of Trump’s presidency.
Aerial drills conducted over South Korea by two U.S. strategic bombers have raised tensions in recent days. In a display of golf diplomacy, Trump is to play a round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders also played together in Florida earlier this year.
Trump will also have a state call with the Imperial Family at Akasaka Palace during his visit. Abe and Trump will meet families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
Joined by his wife Melania on part of the trip, Trump’s tour of Asia is the longest by an American president since George H.W. Bush in 1992. Besides Japan, he will visit South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Trump extended the trip by a day on Friday when he agreed to participate in a summit of East Asian nations in Manila.