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Don’t underestimate US, warns Trump
November 06, 2017
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TOKYO: US President Donald Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea when he arrived in Japan on Sunday, saying the United States and its allies are prepared to defend freedom and “no dictator” should underestimate US resolve.

Trump kicked off a 12-day Asian trip and is looking to present a united front with Japan against North Korea through meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.

He told reporters on Air Force One en route to Asia that North Korea would figure prominently in discussions, and also singled out trade, which he said had been “badly handled” in the region for years.

Trump has rattled some allies with his vow to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatens the United States and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.

A top aide said last week Trump intends to tell Asian leaders the world is “running out of time” in dealing with the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

“No dictator, no regime, no nation should ever underestimate American resolve,” Trump told hundreds of cheering US and Japanese troops in camouflage uniforms gathered at Yokota Air Base, just west of Tokyo, soon after he arrived.

“Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it?” said Trump, who wore a bomber jacket as he addressed the troops.

North Korea’s recent actions, including several missiles that flew over Japan and Pyongyang’s sixth and largest nuclear test, have raised the stakes in the most critical international challenge of Trump’s presidency.

“We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defence of our freedom,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, thousands of South Koreans protested against an upcoming visit by Trump and called for peace as the US president begins the Asian tour dominated by North Korea’s nuclear programme.

First Ladies meet

While her husband hit the greens, First Lady Melania Trump got a glimpse on Sunday of Japanese cultured pearls at Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza shopping district on the first day of their Asia tour.

Melania was welcomed by Akie Abe, the wife of Shinzo Abe, at Mikimoto’s flagship pearl shop as part of her cultural programmes, while dozens of security guards kept close watch.

The two greeted and kissed each other on the cheek instead of shaking hands or bowing.

Then they went upstairs to a “hidden floor” of the building, reserved for VIPs, to talk over tea and coffee. No details of their discussions were released.

Mikimoto brought in two “ama” divers who traditionally harvest pearls, clad in typical white costumes with big goggles and wooden buckets, to explain pearl farming to the US First Lady.

Japan is known for producing especially high-quality pearls.

“Wonderful visit w/ Mrs Abe today! Enjoyed conversation over tea & the cultural presentation on the history of pearls,” Melania tweeted after the meeting.

One of the divers, 57-year-old Miaki Okumura, told reporters after the two VIPs left the shop: “I was asked how deep the waters we dive are, and how long I can hold my breath.”

“I answered that the depth was about five-six metres and I can hold my breath for about 40-50 seconds,” she said, adding that Melania seemed impressed at her endurance.

“She looked like a very kind person and was also very beautiful. Her hands were beautiful and warm when we shook hands.”


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