Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made his first stop on his around-the-world tour Monday in Japan amid reports that he could announce a 2024 presidential bid.
DeSantis and his wife Casey met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, where the two leaders discussed the trade partnership between Florida and Japan.
“Japan has been a strong trade partner with Florida and I believe that we can work together to create even more opportunities for the future,” DeSantis said. “I was happy to meet with the Prime Minister and his team to build on discussions we had during the SEUS Japan Conference in Florida. I look forward to continuing our prosperous business relationship.”
The Florida governor also covered topics like North Korea and China — two hot foreign policy topics that a future president will have to deal with — the Wall Street Journal reported.
Beyond Japan, this world tour will include stops in South Korea, Israel and the U.K., where he is expected to meet with global leaders and business executives.
He is slated to meet with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom James Cleverly. Finally, he will deliver a keynote address commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel. (RELATED: Ron DeSantis To Headline ‘Tolerance’ Event In Jerusalem)
DeSantis has largely dodged the question of whether he will run for president. He has, however, been quietly staffing up for a presidential campaign and is expected to be former President Donald Trump’s top contender should he launch a bid.
The world tour may be a way for DeSantis to bolster his international presence and national security expertise before a launch, as his only other international trip as governor was to Israel in 2019.
In his explanation for the international travel, the governor did not allude to any possible presidential plans, and instead pointed to strengthening Florida’s relationship abroad.
“Florida has the 15th largest economy in the world, and that is because our state has worked to create partnerships with other countries to create jobs and boost the economy,” DeSantis said. “This trade mission will give us the opportunity to strengthen economic relationships and continue to demonstrate Florida’s position as an economic leader.”