US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:19
Trump and Putin to meet on Asia trip
CNN
Now playing
01:39
Trump on North Korea: What he said in Asia
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.
World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA        (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:00
Trump responds to Russia election meddling
Trump Putin Russian election meddling newday_00000000.jpg
Trump Putin Russian election meddling newday_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:31
Trump: I believe Putin
President Donald Trump, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shakes hands at the Presidential Palace, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shakes hands at the Presidential Palace, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Now playing
00:43
Vietnam responds to Trump's 'mediator' offer
President Trump attends the APEC gala dinner in Da Nang 7:50a: President Trump's scheduled arrival RX 763 SOURCE: HOST   8:00a: Dinner & Cultural Performance. Toast by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang RX 763 SOURCE: HOST
HOST
President Trump attends the APEC gala dinner in Da Nang 7:50a: President Trump's scheduled arrival RX 763 SOURCE: HOST 8:00a: Dinner & Cultural Performance. Toast by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang RX 763 SOURCE: HOST
Now playing
00:36
Watch Putin, Trump shake hands in Vietnam
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) as they pose for a group photo ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit leaders gala dinner in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 10, 2017.
World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / Vietnam News Agency / STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
STR/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) as they pose for a group photo ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit leaders gala dinner in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 10, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / Vietnam News Agency / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:51
Trump, Putin chat at Asia summit
RX 763 -- Path 3/Trump/Da Nang/Vietnam/Pool
POOL
RX 763 -- Path 3/Trump/Da Nang/Vietnam/Pool
Now playing
01:18
Trump: US has not been treated fairly by WTO
north korea trump speech ripley_00005622.jpg
north korea trump speech ripley_00005622.jpg
Now playing
02:50
North Koreans react to Trump's speech
Now playing
01:05
Trump: Can't blame China for taking advantage
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AUGUST 14: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a memorandum he just signed on addressing China's laws, policies, practices, and actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology at The White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AUGUST 14: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a memorandum he just signed on addressing China's laws, policies, practices, and actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology at The White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:10
Trump vs China: Tensions over trade
trump china visit north korea sot_00000505.jpg
trump china visit north korea sot_00000505.jpg
Now playing
01:22
Trump: Mutual commitment to denuclearize NK
trump burger asia trip moos pkg_00014912.jpg
Much's Burger Shack
trump burger asia trip moos pkg_00014912.jpg
Now playing
01:56
Trump, Abe lunch starts hamburger craze
Now playing
00:24
Trump in South Korea: What's at stake?
Now playing
02:25
President Trump: N. Korea a worldwide threat
US President Donald Trump (C) feeds koi fish as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R)looks on during a welcoming ceremony in Tokyo on November 6, 2017.
Trump lashed out at the US trade relationship with Japan, saying it was "not fair and open", as he prepared for formal talks with his Japanese counterpart. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (C) feeds koi fish as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R)looks on during a welcoming ceremony in Tokyo on November 6, 2017. Trump lashed out at the US trade relationship with Japan, saying it was "not fair and open", as he prepared for formal talks with his Japanese counterpart. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:45
Trump, Abe feed koi fish in Japan

Story highlights

Trump and Putin will focus on North Korea, an official said

The two will meet later this week in Vietnam

(CNN) —  

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 favor a hoax.

Trump and his aides had hoped this week’s grueling itinerary through five countries would help distract from the Russia matter, though Trump himself appeared preoccupied by the issue as he departed the White House on Friday, unleashing a stream of tweets as Air Force One headed toward Hawaii.

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 a marathon 13-day tour of Asia that began Sunday.

“We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Trump said midway through the eight-hour flight to Tokyo from Honolulu, where he’d spent the night.

01:27 - Source: CNN
Things Trump has said about Putin

Before Trump faces Putin in the Vietnamese seaside city of Da Nang, he will have visited three Asian capitals on his North Korea diplomacy mission. After talks here with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump will head to Seoul and Beijing for state visits that are also set to include discussions of trade and security.

The United States will determine “very soon” whether to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terror, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

“The administration and Secretary (of State Rex) Tillerson and others in the administration are looking very closely right now whether to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terror,” the official said. “I would expect an answer very quickly.”

When asked whether that meant an announcement would come during Trump’s trip to Asia, the official only said: “Stay tuned.”

Trump’s diplomatic efforts have so far been focused on North Korea’s neighbors China, South Korea and Japan. He’s ruled out direct talks with Pyongyang.

He has not focused as intently on persuading Putin to join his efforts, though the two men have discussed the matter before.

A senior White House official told reporters in Tokyo that North Korea will be a “primary subject” of conversation when Trump and Putin meet.

“Russia borders North Korea,” the official said. “They are also very concerned I think with … the direction that North Korea is leading the region toward into this crisis and naturally Russia should have a role in that future.”

CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.