President Donald Trump will seek to enlist his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin this week on a mission to confront an increasingly truculent North Korea during their second face-to-face meeting.
Trump said aboard Air Force One as he winged toward Japan on Sunday that he expected the sit-down to occur on the sidelines of a summit for Asia-Pacific leaders in Vietnam, which is due to begin Thursday.
The talks will come as the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia’s 2016 election meddling heats up back home. Before Trump departed for Asia, three of his campaign aides were ensnared in the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
During their first meeting in July, Trump did raise the issue of Russia’s interference, though since then he’s called the notion that Russia worked to sway the vote in his favour a hoax.
While the timing of a meeting with Putin may force the Russia issue back to the forefront, Trump’s aides determined face-to-face talks were essential while the two men were in the same city.
Putin will be just one of the world leaders Trump hopes to pull toward a more aggressive posture against Pyongyang during his tour of Asia. “We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Trump said.