U.S. President Donald Trump has arrived in Japan after telling reporters aboard Air Force One that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his 12-day Asia trip.
Trump landed at a U.S. air base in Tokyo early on November 5 after flying in from Hawaii, where he met with U.S. troops and visited the site of the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Trump said he expects to meet with Putin at some point during his Asia journey, which will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
"I think it's expected we'll meet with Putin, yeah,” Trump told reporters.
“We want Putin's help on North Korea, and we'll be meeting with a lot of different leaders," he said.
He added that North Korea was a "big problem for our country and for the world, and we want to get it solved."
One possible location for a meeting would be the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Danang, Vietnam, on November 10-11.
The North Korean nuclear crisis is likely to be the main topic of talks with leaders during Trump’s Asia trip, starting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Before holding talks, the president played a round of golf with Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, one of the world’s top professionals, at Kasumigaseki Golf Club.
Abe and Trump also had played golf in February at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
While at the Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, Trump and his wife, Melania, met with some of the 50,000 U.S. troops who are stationed in Japan.
In a speech to service members, Trump said that "Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the U.S." and he spoke of American military strength.
He did not mention North Korea by name but warned of crossing the "most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world."
"Together with our allies, America's warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one -- no dictator, no regime and no nation -- should underestimate, ever, American resolve," Trump told the troops.
Japan’s leader has been a strong ally in support of Trump’s hard-line policy toward Pyongyang.
"Trump only has to play golf in Japan, as he knows Japan will follow [the United States] whatever happens. Everything has been sorted out beforehand," Tetsuro Kato, political scientist at Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University, told the AFP news agency.
Trump will also travel to South Korea for talks with President Moon Jae-in, who has generally pressed for a diplomatic, rather than military, solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Trump at one point called Moon’s policy “appeasement,” angering many within the South Korean administration.
After South Korea, Trump will travel to China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa