Arriving in Japan, Trump tasks confidence, says he’ll in all probability meet Putin throughout Asia journey

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President Trump and first woman Melania Trump put on leis as they arrive at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii on Nov. three. Trump begins a five-country journey by Asia, together with Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

TOKYO — President Trump provided a short overview of his five-country, 12-day journey to Asia as he flew from Honolulu to Tokyo on Saturday, telling reporters that he expects to satisfy with Russian President Vladimir Putin whereas overseas, plans to strain different leaders to take a more durable stance on North Korea, and thinks he’s embarking on his go to to China from a place of energy.

Trump was in buoyant spirits Saturday, carrying an unbuttoned, open-collared white shirt with no tie, and showing within the press cabin unexpectedly to “say hello” close to the top of a roughly eight-hour flight to Japan, earlier than he touches down for a full day of conferences Sunday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 The president confirmed hypothesis that he may meet with Putin whereas in Asia, saying: “I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders.”

[Four causes Trump’s Asia journey is so essential]

Trump’s relationship with Putin, in addition to particular counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into potential collusion between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia, has dogged Trump for the reason that day he took workplace. Last week, Mueller indicted three folks in Trump’s orbit — two senior marketing campaign aides and one lower-level, unpaid volunteer — as a part of his ongoing investigation.

But the president, who has typically expressed admiration for authoritarian leaders, has remained reluctant to criticize Putin, and the 2 males have two potential alternatives to cross paths close to the top of Trump’s journey — on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, or on the East Asia Summit within the Philippines.

Trump has additionally taken a tricky line on North Korea, a rhetorical stance he’s anticipated to keep up whereas within the area. The president stated he plans to resolve “very soon” whether or not to label the nation a state sponsor of terror, however requested whether or not he had a message for the folks of North Korea, he provided solely encouraging phrases, calling them “great people.”

“They’re industrious, they’re warm, much warmer than the world really knows and understands,” he stated. “They’re great people and I hope it all works out for everybody. And it would be a wonderful thing if it could work for those great people, and for everybody.”

And he appeared unconcerned concerning the prospect that North Korea may use his journey to the area to display its army may by firing a missile. “We’ll soon find out,” he stated. “Good luck!”

[What to look for during Trump’s landmark Asia trip]

The president promised that commerce may also be a key focus of his journey, with China — a frequent goal of his trade-related ire — looming largest on the financial entrance. Chinese President Xi Jinping lately consolidated energy at his nation’s Party of Congress, and Trump is getting ready to face a newly emboldened Xi on his residence turf.

Trump, nevertheless, argued that as president of the United States, he’ll enter any negotiations or conferences with Xi on equally robust footing, saying, “I think we’re going in with tremendous strength.”

When a reporter requested him about Xi’s elevated place, the president minimize off the questioner, saying, “Excuse me, so am I.” He then rattled off a laundry checklist of highlights of U.S. energy, together with the surging inventory market, low unemployment and success in combating the Islamic State within the Middle East.

“I think he’s viewing us as very, very strong, and also very friendly,” Trump stated. “But we have to do better with trade with China, because it’s a one-way street right now and it has been for many years. And we will. But the reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well.”

The president additionally expressed enthusiasm for his conferences with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been criticized for his document on human rights and the bloody drug battle roiling his nation, however with whom Trump maintains a heat relationship. “I look forward to seeing him,” he stated. “I look very much forward to seeing him.”

Trump’s already lengthy journey — to which he unexpectedly added an additional day Friday when he introduced that he would keep within the Philippines a closing night time to attend the East Asia Summit — is anticipated to be grueling. George H.W. Bush, the final president to embark on such a prolonged journey to the area, in 1992, got here down with the flu, and in one thing of a minor worldwide incident, collapsed into the lap of Japan’s prime minister.

Asked whether or not he had any suggestions for staying recent, Trump replied:  “I don’t know. I’ll let you know if I don’t stay fresh. If I don’t stay fresh, you’ll be the first to tell me. I’ll stay fresh.”

[Trump arrives in Hawaii ahead of his five-country tour of Asia]

The president, who is thought for his reluctance to stray removed from residence,  appeared enthusiastic concerning the journey. In Hawaii, he performed keen vacationer, solemnly presiding over a wreath-laying ceremony at Pearl Harbor.

And Saturday on the airplane, he joked repeatedly with reporters. He is scheduled to play golf Sunday with Abe and Japanese golf star Hideki Matsuyama, who is also called a powerful long-ball hitter, and Trump teased reporters to not belief him if he returns boasting of his stroke.

“I hit the ball pretty long,” Trump stated. “I promise you one thing: I won’t be hitting it there. If I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it.”

He additionally famous that he’ll spend the primary anniversary of Election Day 2016 in China, and facetiously invited his touring press corps to affix him within the festivities. “Can you believe it is almost exactly one year? We’re going to be in China — together,” he stated. “We’ll have to celebrate together, Nov. 8. I hope we’ll all celebrate together. In fact, I was going to have a big celebration party, and then I said, ‘Well.’ But we’ll celebrate together.”

Asked a couple of new e book about former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, wherein they sharply criticize Trump, the president confirmed uncharacteristic restraint.

“The Bushes? I’ll comment after we come back,” he stated. “I don’t need headlines. I don’t want to make their book successful.”

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