US President Donald Trump begins Asia tour, lands in Japan

US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in leave after posing for

The US had put North Korea on the terror sponsor list in 1988 after the reclusive regime was accused of blowing up a South Korean civilian airliner in 1987, leading to the deaths of 115 people.

President Donald Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea when he arrived in Japan on Sunday, saying that the United States and its allies are prepared to defend freedom and that "no dictator" should underestimate USA resolve. The worry is that should Pyongyang successfully pair the two technologies, the reclusive country would have the potential to launch a devastating strike against a USA city.

He also pointed out that Seoul, the South's capital with a population of 25 million, is just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone.

"It's crucial for Trump to show that he's willing to defend and protect South Korea because there's a lot of questions and concerns on the part of South Koreans about his commitment to that alliance, and that has fed fears here in South Korea that they may be abandoned", said Jean Lee, a global fellow at the Wilson Center and former Pyongyang bureau chief for The Associated Press.

A report by the Congressional Research Service released last month estimates as many as 25 million people on either side of the border, including more than 100,000 USA citizens, could be affected by an escalation of a military conflict on the Korean peninsula.

That is likely to please Abe, the nationalist leader of Japan, who has taken a similarly hard line against what Trump called the "menace" of North Korea.

South Korean presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun speaks at a media briefing on U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming state visit at Cheong Wa Dae on November 5, 2017.

Trump did not wait for an official address to launch a verbal attack against North Korea.

"Trump's visit is a huge variable".

"There are no good military options for North Korea".

A key USA ally, South Korea is home to more than 50 million people. "The problem is Trump's the wild card, not the reassurance guy". This is part of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's efforts to sever ties so that North Korea can not financially benefit from the very countries it threatened to destroy. Those two have developed a good rapport and both share a hawkish stance toward Pyongyang.

He said welcoming a guest hospitably is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation in South Korea, adding that through the hospitability, South Korea and the United States will be able to confirm the firm alliance.

Mr McMaster said President Trump would urge countries with the most influence over Pyongyang to "convince its leaders that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is a dead end" and that it must denuclearise.

When asked on the timing of the announcement, government officials denied it was tied to Trump's visit to Seoul. Security jitters subsequently flared among many in South Korea and Japan.

A Gallup survey in September found 60% of South Koreans supported some form of nuclear capability for the country.

Recent drills over South Korea by two USA strategic bombers have further raised tensions.

"This is reflective of the sense of insecurity on the part of the South Koreans that they don't have that protection from the United States and the United States may be more willing under President Trump to really throw them under the bus", Lee said.

It comes after a series of missile and nuclear tests in the past few months, a sharp escalation from recent years.

"Nobody can predict when Trump does a reckless act".

"We expect this will contribute to blocking North Korea's main sources of foreign exchange and its developing of weapons of mass destruction".

"Somehow or another it requires cooperation", Peskov said.

The US has been flexing its naval muscles in the region ahead of Trump's visit with three aircraft carriers conducting exercises in the Pacific for the first time since 2007. It was not pleasant for them, was it?

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