US President Donald Trump has warned that “no dictator, no regime” should underestimate the US.
His words came as he spoke to US and Japanese service personnel at the Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, at the beginning of his Asian tour.
He told the crowd: “No one, no dictator, no regime… should underestimate American resolve.
“Every once in a while in the past, they underestimated us and it was not pleasant for them, was it?
“We will never yield, never waiver and never falter in defence of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”
Mr Trump’s tour of Asia will take in five countries, with his second stop being South Korea. He is also likely to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin while in Vietnam.
During his three-day visit to Japan, Mr Trump will play golf with the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who he describes as a “friend”.
Mr Abe has recently won a massive victory in a snap election and he has supported Mr Trump in his pressure on North Korea, the region’s major problem.
Speaking at Yokota Air Base, Mr Trump said: “Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,”
As the US leader arrived, Mr Abe said: “I want to further cement the bond of the Japan-US alliance, based on our relations of trust and friendship with President Trump.
“I hope we will be able to have thorough discussions about international issues, including North Korea.”
More unpredictable, however, will be Mr Trump’s manner towards South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
He was in regular contact with Mr Abe in the days after North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile test in July but failed to speak to Mr Moon for several days.
He even described Mr Moon’s approach towards North Korea as “appeasement”, a label not welcomed by Mr Moon’s administration.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump will want agreement with the Japanese and South Korean leaders before heading to China to visit Chinese President Xi Jinping, who he hopes will do more to placate North Korea.