Trump heads to Japan with North Korea on his mind

Abe best off keeping Trump out of economic rough

In a display of golf diplomacy, Trump is to play a round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders, who have struck up an unlikely but easy rapport, shared a casual lunch and played nine holes at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, joined by professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama.

The president plans additional meetings with Abe on Monday in a more formal setting and plans to participate in a joint press conference.

Japan is the first stop on the president's Asian tour, which will take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Only a few days after the election, he was the first foreign leader to fly to NY to talk with Trump. Abe was spotted by reporters driving the golf cart, and the president waved to photographers. He was the first to call Trump after the election, and rushed to NY days later to meet the president-elect and present him with a pricey, gold Honma golf driver.

"For nearly 60 years, the military alliance we see on this base has endured a cornerstone of sovereignty, security and prosperity for our nations, this region and indeed, the entire world", Trump told the audience.

"Our relationship is really extraordinary".

Speaking to hundreds of cheering USA and Japanese troops at Yokota Air Base, just west of Tokyo, Mr Trump said: "No dictator, no regime, no nation should ever underestimate American resolve. And I don't think we've ever been closer to Japan than we are right now", Trump said. He said they were able to "carry out in depth discussion, at times touching on various hard issues".

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"We're in the midst of having very major discussions on many subjects, including North Korea and trade and we're doing very well", Trump told reporters in front of a restaurant in Tokyo alongside Abe.

It comes as Trump sets off on a whirlwind tour of Asia to discuss North Korea's nukes with diferent leaders.

Speaking to cheering military personnel at Yokota Air Base just west of Tokyo, Trump donned a bomber jacket and issued a threat that "no one, no dictator, no regime and no nation should underestimate".

Trump has rattled some allies with his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States and his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

"The president will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously", McMaster said. During his campaign, Trump suggested Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons to defend itself, hinted the USA might not come to the nation's defense, and accused Japan of "killing us" on trade.

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