Trump meets Japan PM Shinzo Abe at White House
President Donald Trump welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a brotherly hug and warm words of admiration, as he ditched previously hard-charging rhetoric towards Tokyo during a White House summit.
Trump praised his guest’s “strong hands,” the pair’s “very, very good chemistry” and rolled out a White House military honour guard in a remarkable public display of diplomatic affection.
“When I greeted him today at the car,” Trump said after an Oval Office meeting, “I shook hands, but I grabbed him and hugged him because that’s the way we feel.” The odd political couple had lunch at the White House before heading to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for further talks and a round of golf on Saturday.
The sporting gambit recalled the diplomatic exploits of Abe’s grandfather, prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, who once donned a polo shirt to golf with avid hacker president Dwight Eisenhower.
Abe is in the United States on a similar charm offensive.
Then, the topic was post-war reconciliation. This time, the Japanese leader is trying to build a personal rapport with the mercurial new US president and head off simmering disputes.
Ties have been strained by Trump’s willingness to question longstanding defence commitments and his rejection of a trans-Pacific trade deal.
Plans under consideration in the White House propose a substantial hike of import tariffs that could have a serious impact on Japanese manufacturers.
Abe dodged questions about the trade deal, instead dispatching a slew of compliments.
“Donald, Mr President, you are an excellent businessman,” he said, praising Trump on everything from his meteoric political rise to his golf game.
“My scores in golf are not up to the level of Donald at all,” Abe said, self-effacingly.
It appeared that Abe’s efforts paid off. After some tough anti-Japanese rhetoric on the campaign trail, Trump embraced longstanding defence agreements and “free, fair, and reciprocal” trade.
“We’re committed to the security of Japan,” Trump said. “The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer.” In a statement, Trump offered reassurances the US would come to Japan’s defence if China were to seize the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyu in China.
In a joint statement, the pair said: “They oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands” — comments that are sure to rile Beijing.
Although Abe has pushed ahead with efforts to boost Japan’s military capabilities, Tokyo still relies on US security guarantees.
In a test of Trump’s transactional approach to diplomacy, Abe floated the idea of building a Japanese-designed high-speed rail link that could take Trump between the White House and Trump Tower in New York in an hour.
Early Friday, Abe told business leaders that US-Japanese commerce had been “win-win” and highlighted the hundreds of thousands of American jobs created by Japanese investments.
Most budget cars sold by Toyota and Honda are “produced in US factories by American workers,” he said, noting that US investments by Japanese firms total $411 billion, generating 840,000 jobs.
old mate abe..looks like he had a good time..north korea tried to ruin the party but they are like a small barking dog who has no bite..
“Abe floated the idea of building a Japanese-designed high-speed rail link that could take Trump between the White House and Trump Tower in New York in an hour.”