US President Donald Trump is set to travel to Asia for the first time since entering the oval office, stopping in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines on a trip expected to be dominated by talks of North Korea.
- Mr Trump will travel to the region from November 3-14
- North Korea's nuclear program will be the main focus of the trip
- Mr Trump has this week been engaged in a war of words with Kim Jong-un
Joined by his wife Melania, Mr Trump will travel from November 3-14 in a visit that will see him attend two major summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conclave in the Philippines.
Mr Trump's attendance at the Manila summit had been in doubt until recent days, with officials saying he was reluctant to reward Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been responsible for a number of anti-American outbursts.
A US official said Asian leaders who met Mr Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week helped persuade him to attend in unity with key Asian allies.
"The president's engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat," the White House said in announcing the trip.
"[The visit will] ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula."
Mr Trump, who has been engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will have the opportunity to bolster allied resolve for what he calls the "complete denuclearisation" of Pyongyang.
He has denounced Mr Kim as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission for test launches of ballistic missiles and for nuclear weapon tests.
The US President has warned North Korea it would face total devastation if it threatens the United States — Mr Kim has in return blasted Mr Trump as "mentally deranged".
Mr Trump's visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the United States made in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The US leader has applied heavy pressure on China to rein in North Korea, and while his efforts have had limited success thus far, he went out of his way to thank Mr Xi on Tuesday for his efforts.
"I applaud China for breaking off all banking relationships with North Korea — something that people would have thought unthinkable even two months ago. I want to thank President Xi," Mr Trump said at a news conference.