TOKYO -- President Donald Trump warned on Sunday that “no dictator” should underestimate the United
States, as he launched an Asia tour that will be dominated by the North Korea nuclear crisis.
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... American resolve.”
“Every once in a while in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was
it?” roared Trump.
“We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defence of our people, our freedom and
our great American flag.”
Trump’s marathon trip comes with the North Korea crisis at fever pitch, as US bombers fly
sorties over the Korean peninsula and fears mount of another Pyongyang missile test.
According to the Washington Post, Pentagon officials have warned that the only way to locate
and secure North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites would be via a ground invasion.
North Koreans ‘great people’
The president’s first stops are Japan and South Korea — frontline US allies in the effort to
force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme, and the two countries with most to fear should a
full-scale conflict break out.
Trump touched down under clear blue Tokyo skies and stepped out with his wife Melania in
bright sunshine to greet the crowds.
Speaking to reporters on the plane, he announced he would likely be meeting Russian President
Vladimir Putin during the tour, as the international community scrambles for a solution to the North
“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and
we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” said Trump.
He added that North Korea was a “big problem for our country and for the world, and we want to
get it solved” but had kind words for the people in the hermit state.
“I think they’re great people. They’re industrious. They’re warm, much warmer than the world
really knows or understands. They’re great people. And I hope it all works out for everybody,” he
The next stop was a golfing date with his “friend” Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, with
whom he enjoys a close personal relationship.
Trump joked with reporters on Air Force One that they should not believe him if he claims to
outhit Hedeki Matsuyama, one of the world’s best players who joined the leaders on the course.
Abe has emerged strengthened from a crushing victory in a snap election and has firmly
supported Trump in his policy of exerting maximum pressure on Kim, backed up with the threat of
“I want to further cement the bond of the Japan-US alliance, based on our relations of trust
and friendship with President Trump,” Abe said as Trump arrived.