United States President Donald Trump launched his Asia tour in Japan on Sunday by saying that no country or dictator should underestimate the resolve of his country.
“No one, no dictator, no regime…should underestimate American resolve,” Mr Trump told gathered US and Japanese troops at Yokota air base near the Japanese capital Tokyo.
The US president’s trip comes during high international tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program, missile tests and inflammatory rhetoric between Trump and the North’s supreme leader Kim Jung Un.
North Korea has sent two ballistic missiles flying over the Japanese mainland this year, setting off alarms and sending citizens scrambling. Pyongyang has also threatened a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.
Japan is concerned with the instability of the region, but Trump has taken a hardline stance against the North Korean provacation.
The president delivered an additional veiled threat to North Korean leadership saying that the US military will “always, always win” in any armed conflict.
“This is the heritage of the US armed forces, the greatest force for freedom and justice that the world has ever known,” said Trump.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has supported Trump’s strong stance on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name for the North.
“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Trump said, recognizing the support of Tokyo.
“We dominate the sky, we dominate the sea, we dominate the land and space.”
After Trump’s remarks at the air base, the president flew via helicopter to have an informal lunch with Mr Abe and played golf with the prime minister and the world’s fourth best golfer, Hideki Matsuyama.
It is the longest Asia tour by a sitting US president in 25 years since George Bush in 1992.
However, many observers say the trip may be either a great opportunity for a solid round of international stories for Trump or inopportune for domestic chaos he his leaving behind.
On Oct 30, Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort and advisor Rick Gates were indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the president’s 2016 campaign.
What also came to light was the secret confession of George Papadopoulos pleading guilty to perjury over his contacts with Russians as a member of the Trump campaign.
More details to follow. Image 1 of Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Yokota air base from Reuters news agency.