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Trump Starts Asia Trip Amid Tensions - Possible Meeting With Putin


U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting on tax policy with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, October 31, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump is embarking on a trip to Asia amid escalating tensions over North Korea's ballistic missile and atomic programs.

Trump left Washington on November 3 and is due to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines during his 11-day trip.

He will fly first to Hawaii, stopping for a briefing on U.S. military forces in the Pacific and a visit to Pearl Harbor, before arriving in Japan on November 5.

His visits to Japan, South Korea, and China are likely to be dominated by talks on North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs.

In recent months, Pyongyang has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out its sixth nuclear explosion, prompting Trump to warn, in unusually harsh terms, of "fire and fury" in response to the North's moves.

Trump is also expected to discuss trade with Asian leaders, especially during his stops in Southeast Asia.

He will make a state visit to Vietnam, where he will also attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Danang, and will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders' meeting in the Philippines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to attend the APEC summit, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 3 that he does not rule out a meeting between the two presidents.

Amid severely strained U.S.-Russian tries, Trump and Putin have met once -- at a G20 summit in Germany in July -- since Trump took office in January.

Trump's tour is slated to be the longest Asia trip by a U.S. president since President George Bush's 1991-1992 tour.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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