President Donald Trump departed on Friday for a 10-day trip to Asia, where he will visit China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam.
“I think we’re going to have a very successful trip,” Trump said to reporters before leaving the White House. “There is a lot of good will.”
Trump is currently flying aboard Air Force One to Hawaii, where he plans to visit the U.S. Pacific Command as well as Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.
The White House confirmed that Trump had decided to stay an extra day in the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
This is the longest trip to Asia by a U.S. president since George H.W. Bush went on a 12-day tour of Asia in 1991.
In 2009, former President Barack Obama spent seven days visiting Asia during his first year as president, stopping at Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and China.
The president has a number of issues to discuss with Asian nations, including the ongoing nuclear threat from North Korea. Despite the trip’s diplomatic nature, White House aides cautioned that Trump would be frank with leaders during his visit on the threat posed by North Korea.
“The president will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously,” National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster explained to reporters on Thursday, when asked if Trump would moderate his tone towards North Korea.
“I don’t think the president really modulates his language,” he added humorously. “Have you noticed him do that?”
The president also wants to make important deals on “reciprocal trade” after ending the politically disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership shortly after taking office as president.
“Throughout the trip, the president will stress his commitment to free, fair and reciprocal trade,” McMaster said.