Trump in Japan
Trump in JapanReuters

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Japan on Sunday (local time), as he began the first leg of a trip to Asia set to be dominated by soaring tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea.

Speaking to reporters on the plane, he announced he would likely be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin during the tour, as the international community seeks a solution to the North Korean missile crisis.

"I think it's expected we'll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin's help on North Korea, and we'll be meeting with a lot of different leaders," Trump told reporters on Air Force One, according to the AFP news agency.

He added that North Korea was a "big problem for our country and for the world, and we want to get it solved", but had kind words for the citizens of the country.

"I think they're great people. They're industrious. They're warm, much warmer than the world really knows or understands. They're great people. And I hope it all works out for everybody," he said, according to AFP.

Trump's trip to Asia comes amid continued tensions with North Korea, which in recent months has sparked global alarm by conducting a sixth nuclear test and test-launching missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Late last week, two American B-1B bombers, accompanied by fighter jets from South Korea and Japan, carried out an exercise in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula.

Several weeks ago, the U.S. military flew two Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers over the Korean peninsula in a joint exercise with the South Korean and Japanese militaries.

The president's first stops are Japan and South Korea. From Seoul, Trump and his wife Melania will travel to China to meet President Xi Jinping. The president will then travel to an APEC summit in Vietnam before heading to a ASEAN gathering of Southeast Asian leaders.