Donald Trump visits Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona memorial before Asia tour

Donald Trump visits Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona memorial before Asia tour

President Donald Trump has paid a solemn visit to Pearl Harbour and its memorial to the USS Arizona.

Mr Trump saluted after entering the memorial following a short boat ride with first lady Melania Trump.

They approached a wreath of white flowers - a gift from the couple - and watched as two sailors who stood beside it at attention placed the wreath near a wall of names of the fallen.

Pearl Harbour was the scene of a surprise attack by Japan that plunged the US into the Second World War, killing hundreds of service members.

After the wreath was placed, the Trumps tossed white flower petals into the waters above the battleship's sunken hull.

Mr Trump did not speak publicly at the memorial, but during an earlier meeting on Friday with military officials, he said he was eagerly anticipating the visit.

"We are going to visit very shortly, Pearl Harbour, 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," Mr Trump said at the start of a briefing with leaders of the US Pacific Command.

Mr Trump stopped in Hawaii on the eve of his first visit to Asia.

He arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam yesterday after a day-long flight from Washington.

He departs on Saturday for Japan, the first stop on the five-nation, 11-day journey that will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The president quickly donned a lei after he left Air Force One with his wife, who also wore a wreath of flowers.

He signed autographs and gave high-fives to children who were among a group of civilians and service members that gathered for the arrival.

Mr Trump was not the only attraction to arrive on base, with a few in the crowd shouting their admiration for White House chief of staff John Kelly.

"We love you General Kelly," one person shouted at the retired four-star Marine general who stood several feet behind the president.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour marks the final resting place of more than 1,000 sailors and Marines who were killed on the battleship during the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

Accessible only by boat, the memorial straddles the ship's sunken hull.

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

- AP

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