US & Canada

Trump vows to tackle N Korea on Asia trip

Trump meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in during UN meetings earlier this month Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump met South Korean President Moon Jae-in during UN meetings earlier this month

US President Donald Trump will travel to five Asian countries in November to participate in regional summits, the White House has announced.

He will visit Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and the US state of Hawaii for an 11-day trip.

"The president's engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat", the White House statement said.

North Korea and the US have engaged in heated rhetoric in recent months.

So what will the key issues be for the US president on his first official trip to Asia?

North Korea

The economically-isolated Asian country conducted its sixth nuclear explosive test earlier this month despite international condemnation, and has promised to conduct another test in the Pacific Ocean.

At a speech to the United Nations, Mr Trump threatened to annihilate North Korea, saying the country's leader, Kim Jong-un," is on a suicide mission".

In exchange, Mr Kim in a rare statement, vowed to "tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire".

Mr Trump will seek to rally the country's neighbours - including China - to continue an economic sanctions campaign against North Korea.

Trade relations

Several countries, especially Japan, were upset when Mr Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact - a deal which had been more than five years in the making and affected 40% of the global economy.

The 11 remaining countries, including Japan and Vietnam, will continue the pact and have left the door open for the US to rejoin at any time, however a US trade representative has vowed that Mr Trump will not change his decision.

"Bilateral negotiations are better for the United States than multilateral negotiations," said trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

South China Sea

Territorial disputes have pitted several smaller nations against much-larger China, which views the sea as part of its sphere of influence.

Japanese and Filipino sailors have often clashed at sea with Chinese military vessels, and nations have been so far unable to establish a clear border.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Filipino protesters burned effigies of Trump and Duterte earlier this month

After a US Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship in the South China Sea in August - resulting in 10 dead US sailors - a state-run newspaper in Beijing said the "US Navy has behaved arrogantly in the Asia-Pacific region".

Meeting Duterte

Mr Duterte's human rights record has been criticised, as his country wages war against drug dealers and users.

As a result, it had been rumoured in Washington that Mr Trump may skip the ASEAN summit happening in Manila.

But now the White House schedule confirms that he will attend.


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