Tokyo, Nov 5: US President Donald Trump on Sunday said that “no dictator” should underestimate Washington’s resolve, as he arrived in Japan to begin his five-nation tour through Asia, media reports said.
“No one, no dictator, no regime should underestimate American resolve,” The Guardian quoted Trump as saying to cheering servicemen after he landed at the Yokota Air Base near Tokyo earlier on Sunday.
“You are the greatest threat to tyrants and dictators who seek to prey on the innocent,” he said, adding that authoritarian regimes could also take the route “towards prosperity and peace”.
“No nation should ever underestimate American resolve… Every once a while in the past they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defence of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”
Trump’s first-ever visit to Japan comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear programme and missile tests.
Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles over Japan and has threatened to conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.
In another remark, Trump said US forces “always, always win. This is the heritage of the US armed forces, the greatest force for freedom and justice that the world has ever known”.
The Air Force One landed at the US-controlled base at about 10.37 a.m. (local time) on Sunday where the President and First Lady Melania Trump was received by the US Ambassador to Japan, William Hagerty, and the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taro Kono, reports CNN.
The President also lauded the assembled troops as “brave warriors” who are “the last bulwark against threats” facing the US and Japan.
“We dominate the sky. We dominate the seas. We dominate the land and space… You put hope in every soul that yearns for peace” Trump said.
Trump along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will play golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama later in the day with the country’s top golfer, Hideki Matsuyama, state-run public broadcaster NHK reported.
On Monday, Trump will visit Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He is also scheduled meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s. The meeting may include a former abductee who returned in 2002.
During their talks, the leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and might also jointly urge China and other countries to increase pressure on Pyongyang.
On the economic front, they are expected to agree to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector. They will also discuss further cooperation on foreign infrastructure projects.
En route to Japan, the President on Saturday stopped in Hawaii where he visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor – the scene of the 1941 Japanese attack that drew the US into World War Two.
He also took part in a briefing at the US Pacific Command.
After Japan, Trump will head to South Korea on November 7 where he will visit Camp Humphreys, a US military complex south of Seoul but would not go to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border between the South and North.
Trump will then visit China on November 8 where he will participate in a series of events with his counterpart Xi Jinping, the BBC reported.
In Vietnam (November 10-11), Trump will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang and make a state visit to Hanoi. He expects to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin here.
His final engagement will be a summit of South-East Asian nations in the Philippine capital, Manila (November 12-13).
The last time a US president made such a marathon trip to Asia was when George.H.W. Bush visited the region in late 1991 and early 1992.