WARSAW, Poland – President Donald Trump opens his two-nation European visit with what he expects to be a short but warm stop in Poland before he encounters what could be a frostier reception at an international summit in Germany. Trump's sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile threaten to put Trump's skills as a negotiator to the test.
Trump arrived in Warsaw late Wednesday for a 16-hour visit that includes a keynote address to the Poles from Krasinski Square, site of a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. Scores of people who lined darkened roads waved American and Polish flags and recorded video of Trump's motorcade as it sped him and his wife, Melania, to their hotel.
Trump has scheduled talks with the leaders of Poland and Croatia and may hold a joint news conference – his first abroad – with Polish President Andrzej Duda. He also was meeting with the heads of a dozen countries bordered by the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas. Collectively known as the Three Seas Initiative, the group aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with a goal of reducing the region's dependence on Russian energy.
Duda told Polish broadcaster TVN24 on Wednesday that he wants to tackle concrete issues like energy security in the meeting with Trump, not engage in “some general talk about world security.” Trump recently devoted a week to U.S. energy production.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is among at least nine leaders Trump is scheduled to meet with this week in Germany during the Group of 20 summit of the world's leading rich and developing countries. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson planned to join Trump in Germany.
Trump will also walk a fine line when he meets Friday with Putin. The highly anticipated sit-down comes when relations between the two nations are at a low point, and with the president showing reluctance to adopt a harder line toward Russia amid conclusions by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump, and continuing federal and congressional investigations into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian government officials.
Trump's return to Europe follows a shaky inaugural visit in May and signs of unhappiness around the globe with his presidency.
A recent Pew Research Center survey of attitudes toward Trump in more than three dozen countries found fewer than 3 in 10 respondents expressing confidence in his ability to do the right thing on international affairs.