Golf-loving Trump, Abe to tee off Asia trip with 18 holes

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe played golf earlier this year during the Japanese premier's visit to the United States

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe will again bond on the golf course as the US president tees off his 11-day Asian tour with a visit to the Japanese prime minister.

Trump will visit Japan on November 5-7 as part of a five-nation Asia tour set to be dominated by concerns about North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

In the afternoon of his arrival day, Trump and Abe will play golf with one of the world's best pros Hideki Matsuyama, Japan's top government spokesman told reporters Tuesday.

The golf-loving pair have forged close ties both on and off the green.

Abe became the first foreign leader to visit Trump Tower in New York -- before the now president was even inaugurated -- warmly shaking hands with the tycoon in glittering surroundings.

They then jetted off to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for a spot of "golf diplomacy", with the US president praising Abe's "strong hands" and a "very, very good chemistry".

As a present, Abe gave Trump a driver worth around $4,500.

Abe, 63, has emphasized that his golf skills are not on par with the billionaire Republican's.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga brushed off concerns over whether it was appropriate to hit the golf course with the threat of North Korean nuclear missiles hanging over the world.

"The situation is very serious, but it is also quite important to deepen friendship while taking thorough measures to manage the crisis," he said.

"It is a golden opportunity to discuss tasks the international community faces and show the world again how solid the bond of the Japan-US alliance is when the regional security situation, including North Korea, is becoming more and more serious," Suga said.

Trump will also meet Japan's emperor and empress, as well as families of people abducted by North Korea.