Trump in Japan: ‘No Dictator Should Underestimate American Resolve’

U.S. President Trump on Sunday told servicemen at Yokota Air Base in Japan that “no one, no dictator, no regime should underestimate American resolve.” His remarks came at the start of a nearly two-week Asian trip that is expected to focus on North Korea.

Some of his comments, while directed at the American troops, could also be seen as a veiled warning to the isolated nation: “You are the greatest threat to tyrants and dictators who seek to prey on the innocent.”

En route to Japan, the president spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One, where he was asked by VOA’s Steve Herman if he had any message for the North Korean people.

“I think they’re great people. They’re industrious. They’re warm, much warmer than the world really knows and understands, they’re great people. And I hope it all works out for everybody. It’ll be a wonderful thing if we can work it out for those great people and for everybody,” the president said.

Trump also indicated he expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in the Philippines later in the trip.After his speech at Yokota, the president took a 25-minute flight on Marine One to the the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama prefecture (state) near Tokyo.

Asked by VOA News if he was ready to play golf, Trump responded “we’re ready.” He was then greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in front of the expansive clubhouse. The course will play host to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic golf tournament.

As club members ate lunch, Trump and Abe, in the dining room, signed white hats reading “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater.”

The two leaders, following lunch, went outside to the golf course to play nine holes with professional Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama at the private club founded in 1929.

Trump arrived in Japan after a stopover in Hawaii, where he paid a solemn visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the site of the surprise Japanese naval attack in 1941 that plunged the U.S. into World War II. He also received a classified briefing by the military at the U.S. Pacific Command.

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Before departing for Japan, his first stop on a multination tour of Asia, Trump stopped at his Trump International Hotel in Waikiki and spoke with some employees.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Trump “wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for all their hard work.” Trump said he had wanted to spend another day in Hawaii at the end of what he called this “very important trip,” but canceled that plan to stay longer in the Philippines to attend the East Asia Summit, in addition to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting.

Before arriving in the Philippines, the 13-day trip will take Trump to Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam, his longest journey as president.

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