- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2017

President Trump embarks next week on a trip to Asia to boost U.S. economic and security alliance and confront first-hand the looming nuclear threat from North Korea — but as of now he doesn’t plan to step foot in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a senior White House official said Monday.

Mr. Trump likely will skip a photo-op in the DMZ due to logistics and not security concerns, said the official who also stressed that the president’s itinerary was still being finalized.

Mr. Trump will visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, and reigning in North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un will top the agenda at every stop.

The 12-day trip that begins Nov. 3 will be the longest foreign excursion of the Mr. Trump’s presidency and his first to Asia, and he will deliver several major speeches to reaffirm U.S. leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The stops in South Korea and China will be state visits.

The threat from North Korea, which is pursuing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland, has dominated the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

The topic was discussed Monday when Mr. Trump met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the White House.

At a White House event in the Rose Garden, Mr. Lee said his country shares with the U.S. its condemnation of North Korea’s “dangerous provocations” but urged caution and diplomacy.

“There is no quick and easy solution. Pressure is necessary but so is dialogue,” said Mr. Lee. “The U.S. will need to work with others, including China, South Korea, and Japan, and Russia to resolve the issue.”

Mr. Trump will not visit Singapore during the trip. The two leaders, however, will both be at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines.

During the trip, Mr. Trump will be prodding China to exert its substantial influence over Mr. Kim’s rogue regime. The president also will be mustering support in the region, especially from South Korea and Japan.

While in South Korea, Mr. Trump is expected to visit U.S. troops at Camp Humphries and address the country’s National Assembly.

“He will celebrate the enduring alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and call on the international community to join together in maximizing pressure on North Korea,” said a senior White House official.

The trip will begin Nov. 3 with a stop in Hawaii, where the president will receive a briefing from the U.S. Pacific Command, visit Pearl Harbor and tour the USS Arizona Memorial.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to arrive Nov. 5 in Japan. He will meet with American and Japanese service members, and participate in bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will also host the president for a meeting with the families of Japanese citizens abducted by the North Korean regime.

Two days later, he will visit South Korea. He will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Moon Jae-in and visit American and South Korean service members.

Mr. Trump lands Nov. 8 in Beijing. He will meet with President Xi Jinping and participate in bilateral meeting and trade and cultural events.

“The president will seek to security China’s commitments to exert more pressure on North Korea and to rebalance our economic relations,” the official said. “The visit will send a clear message that for bilateral economic relations to be sustainable over the long term, China must provide fair and reciprocal treatment to U.S. firms and cease predatory trade and investment practices.”

The next stop will be Nov. 10 in Danang, Vietnam. He will participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit.

In the speech, Mr. Trump plans to present the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and underscore the important role the region plays in advancing America’s economic prosperity, said the White House.

The president will travel Nov. 11 to Hanoi, Vietnam, for bilateral engagements with President Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders.

Mr. Trump will wrap up the trip in the Philippines.

He will arrive Nov. 12 in Manila and participate in the Special Gala Celebration Dinner for the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN. On the final day of the trip Nov. 13, he will join the 40th anniversary celebration of U.S.-ASEAN relations at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and participate in bilateral meetings with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.


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