Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Trump stops in Hawaii en route to Asia for tour

AP, JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly visits the USS Arizona Memorial on Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Photo: AFP

Embarking on his first official tour of Asia, US President Donald Trump stopped first in Hawaii on Friday and said he eagerly anticipated a visit to Pearl Harbor, where thousands of service members paid the ultimate sacrifice following a surprise attack by Japan that plunged the US into World War II.

“We are going to visit very shortly, Pearl Harbor, which I’ve read about, spoken about, heard about, studied, but I haven’t seen, and that is going to be very exciting for me,” Trump said at the start of a briefing with leaders of the US Pacific Command.

Trump late on Friday arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after a day-long flight from Washington. He was to depart yesterday for Japan, the first stop on the five-nation, 11-day Asia journey that will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Trump quickly donned a lei after he left Air Force One with first lady Melania Trump, who also wore a wreath of flowers. He signed autographs and gave high-fives to kids who were among a group of civilians and service members that gathered for the arrival.

Trump was not the only attraction to arrive on base. A few in the crowd shouted for White House chief of staff John Kelly.

“We love you General Kelly,” one person shouted to the retired four-star marine general who is among senior White House aides traveling with Trump.

Trump and Pacific command leaders were expected to discuss the growing threat from North Korea, a crisis that will shadow the entire trip.

He is to also meet with the governors of Alaska, Hawaii and Pacific US territories — all potential targets of any successful attempt by North Korea to strike the US with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Trump will also tour the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, which marks the resting place of more than 1,000 sailors and Marines who were killed on the battle ship during the Japanese surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Accessible only by boat, the memorial straddles the battleship’s sunken hull.

More than 2,300 sailors, soldiers and Marines died as a result of the attack, as well as 68 civilians, according to the US National Park Service.

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