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Trump in Asia as leaders prepare to discuss North Korea

Trump begins 11-day trip which is the longest tour of the continent by a US president in 25 years.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wear leis as they arrive at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wear leis as they arrive at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Donald Trump has departed on his 11-day trip to Asia which is the longest tour of the continent by a US president in 25 years.

Trump and his wife First Lady Melania will visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

President Trump will utilise the trip to demonstrate the USA's commitment to the Indo-Pacific region as well as to strengthen alliances and partnerships.

Among the strategic issues Trump will raise with foreign leaders will be the heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme.

They first flew to the US state of Hawaii where they visited the USS Arizona Memorial and laid a wreath in honour of those killed during the attack on Pearl Harbour by Japanese forces in 1941.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File

President Trump will then head to Japan where he can expect a friendly reception.

He and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe largely see eye-to-eye on how to deal with the heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons development.

America's trade deficit with Japan could be a point of contention, though Trump has aimed his recent rhetoric on trade at China, not Japan.

The two leaders will meet on the golf course Sunday before holding formal talks on Monday.

President Donald Trump meets pictured with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in July.
President Donald Trump meets pictured with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in July. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Earlier in the week the White House confirmed Trump will not be visiting the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) during his visit to South Korea.

Trump will instead visit a US military base 40 miles south of Seoul, a senior administration official told reporters.

Every president since Ronald Reagan has visited the heavily armed border between North and South Korean, which has stood for 64 years.

Earlier this month, US diplomats expressed concern that visiting the DMZ would be a security risk, with Trump standing feet away from heavily armed North Korean soldiers. A visit could also inflame already heightened tensions, experts warned.

When the US President visits Beijing he will make the case that Chinese President Xi Jinping should do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Trade will factor heavily during the trip as Trump tries to persuade Asian allies to agree to trade policies more favorable to the United States.

In Vietnam he will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, where he will deliver a speech in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The final stop will be to the Philippine capital Manila where he will attend a summit of South-East Asian nations.

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