Donald Trump on Sunday kicked off his five-nation Asia tour with his first visit as President to Japan — the “treasured partner” of US and a “crucial ally.” The president will also visit South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Trump’s Asia trip is particularly important in light of the constant nuclear threat from North Korea. Before he landed in Japan, Trump denounced North Korea as “a big problem” that must “be solved.” Trump told reporters traveling with him that “there’s been 25 years of total weakness” in dealing with the North.
6:30 pm: Calling the relationship between the two nations as “really extraordinary”, Trump said America has never been this close to Japan than the two nations are right now. “The relationship is really extraordinary. We like each other and our countries like each other and I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now,” AP quoted Trump as saying.
3.00 pm: Abe spoke to reporters after he and Trump had lunch and played golf. He said that the two leaders were able to talk frankly in a relaxed atmosphere while out on the course. Abe said he and Trump were able to “carry out in depth discussion, at times touching on various difficult issues.” Their formal talks on Monday are expected to focus on North Korea and other regional and bilateral issues.
12.15 pm: Trump posted a brief video on Twitter. He wrote: “Playing golf with Prime Minister Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, two wonderful people!” The two will have dinner tonight with their wives.
12.00 pm: US first lady Melania Trump and her Japanese counterpart, Akie Abe, visited a pearl boutique in Tokyo’s posh Ginza shopping district. The first ladies received a presentation on the history of pearl diving at Mikimoto, Japan’s top pearl jewelry maker. Women have traditionally played a key role in Japan as pearl divers, known as “ama” or ocean woman.
Playing golf with Prime Minister Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, two wonderful people! pic.twitter.com/vYLULe0o2K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
11.30 am: Abe said he welcomed Trump “from the bottom of my heart” and that the US President was a “marvelous friend.” He also posted a photo on Twitter of the two leaders at the Kasumigaseki Country Club outside Tokyo. He wrote “we are having a business lunch over hamburgers.”
9.45 am: Trump, whose weekend getaways to golf resorts are well documented, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday that Hideki Matsuyama is “one of the greatest players” and is probably the “greatest player in the history of Japan.” He also said that Matsuyama is a “long ball hitter” and “if I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it.”
Trivia: Trump has earlier golfed with Abe in Florida in February. Abe also presented Trump with a top-level driver by Japanese maker Honma soon after Trump won the presidency.
9.30 am: Trump and Abe signed a white hat in the dining room that read: “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater” — a tribute to the US-Japan friendship and a play on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
9.15 am: Trump and Abe met at a championship golf course in Tokyo. The two world leaders shook hands and Trump could be heard telling Abe that the scenery on the Kasumigaseki golf course is “beautiful,” reported AP. Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama is also scheduled to join the two for lunch and play nine holes of golf with them.
9.00 am: “On behalf of the United States of America, I send the warmest wishes of the America people to the citizens of this remarkable country,” he was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. Following the speech, Trump headed to a private golf course for an informal lunch and golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Donald Trump calls Japan ‘crucial ally’ as he kicks off Asia trip
8.45 am: Trump landed at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo. The president was given a bomber jacket and he put it on after removing his suit jacket saying, “I like this better.” He greeted the service members and made a speech in which he applauded American firepower and the US alliance with Japan.
“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,” he said, speaking in front of an American flag inside an aeroplane hangar.
8.30 am: Before Japan, Trump had stopped in Hawaii where US military leaders briefed him on North Korea’s nuclear threat. Trump also paid his respects at the Pearl Harbor memorial. Japan is the first stop on Trump’s five-nation Asia tour.