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Trump cites 'very big deficit' with Japan during Abe visit

20 April, 2018, 00:53 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
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-North Korea summit planned in the next two months. The meeting will be the third inter-Korean summit since the Koreas' 1945 division.

Trump welcomed the two days of meetings at his private Mar-a-Lago club.

Demonstrators hold up signs reading "Liar" during a protest against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside the National Diet building in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday. "Working on Trade and Military Security", he tweeted Tuesday.

The official visit began Tuesday afternoon as an honor cordon of uniformed service members lined the palm-fringed drive to the club. Abe said he would be visiting the United States for talks with President Donald Trump to seek the "complete and irreversible denuclearisation" of North Korea and added "we want to co-operate with China".

On Wednesday, the agenda will broaden to include other issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region, including trade and energy, and Trump said he and Abe would "sneak out" to play a round of golf.

Mr Abe also will likely seek a reversal of the decision not to exclude Japan from new steel and aluminium tariffs, while resisting Mr Trump's attempts to pull Japan into bilateral trade negotiations.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono at their meeting in Tokyo, Japan April 15, 2018. The president would not disclose the sites but said the US was not among them.

Mr Trump pulled the United States out of TPP shortly after his inauguration in early 2017.

The first time Trump hosted Abe at Mar-a-Lago, North Korea conducted its first missile test of Trump's administration, and the two delivered a joint statement denouncing the launch.

Abe will attempt to use the personal rapport he has established with the U.S. president over the past 18 months to remind Trump that any deal over North Korea's nuclear program must take into account Tokyo's concerns about the missile threat from Pyongyang.

This time, Abe is seeking reassurance from Trump that security threats to Japan won't be overlooked in the U.S. -North Korea summit, slated for May or early June.




James Schoff, a former Pentagon adviser on East Asia policy and now a senior associate for the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the North Korea summit will be front and centre of the visit.

"I think Abe has discovered the limits of personal diplomacy with an erratic character like Trump who prioritises America first, not the alliance", Professor Kingston said. Most other key US allies - among them Australia, Canada, the European Union and Mexico - have already been granted exemptions to Trump's protectionist measures.

Takehiro Shimada, a spokesperson for the Embassy of Japan, said the country can't accept Trump's decision on the tariffs and will push Trump to reconsider. Mr. Abe will also try to convince Mr. Trump to follow through on his recent order to explore rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Finally, both Abe and Trump need a political boost.

Mr Abe told the Japanese parliament last week that getting rid of only intercontinental ballistic missiles - which North Korea said could reach the US mainland - had "no meaning for Japan", and that he wanted "to tell the US President that [North Korea] should also abandon short and intermediate range missiles that put Japan within range".

Tokyo has much to lose from an agreement that focuses on Pyongyang's ability to strike the U.S. mainland with intercontinental ballistic missiles and ignores the more immediate threat its short- and medium-range missiles pose to Japanese territory.

Upcoming US midterm elections, combined with Trump's own domestic troubles, will only make him more determined to return from his meeting with Kim with a nuclear deal, but one that may not satisfy Japan. North Korea says eight others died and denies the remaining four entered its territory. Japan has not been satisfied with North Korea's explanation and has demanded further investigation.

Trump on Tuesday gave his blessing for North and South Korea to discuss ending their decadeslong war and said that without his help, the two countries "wouldn't be discussing anything".

Financial markets have been roiled recently over fears that a full-blown U.S.

After five years in office, Abe is one of Japan's longest-serving, post-World War II prime ministers but has suffered plummeting poll ratings over allegations that a school linked to his wife got preferential government treatment in a land sale.

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