New Delhi: US President Donald Trump is set to travel to Asia for the first time since entering the White House.
He will travel to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines from Nov 3 to 14 to attend regional summits and discuss trade and the North Korean nuclear threat, the White House has announced.
Trump’s visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the United States made in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The White House has applied heavy pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea.
China has already told North Korean companies operating in its territory that they will be shut by early January. Joint Chinese and North Korean ventures will also be forced to close.
China has also banned textile trade and limited oil exports. The move is part of an international response to North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
Joined by his wife Melania, President 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 trip to the Philippines for Southeast Asian Nations conference will be closely watched.
Human rights organizations across the globe have criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for crackdowns on civil rights, including the summary executions of suspected drug dealers. Trump praised Duterte’s war on drugs during a phone conversation the two leaders had in April.
“The President will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral, and cultural engagements—including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit—demonstrating his continued commitment to the alliances and partnerships of the United States in the region,” the White House said in a statement.
President Trump will discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security. He will also emphasize the importance of fair and reciprocal economic ties with America’s trade partners.
The President’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The president has been locked in an increasingly bitter war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and mocked its leader, Kim Jong-un, as “Rocket Man” on a suicide mission for test launches of ballistic missiles and for nuclear weapon tests. Kim has called Trump a ‘mentally deranged U.S. dotard’.
On his return from Asia, Trump will also make a stop in Hawaii, the White House said.
The trip will be his fourth international trip as President.