Trump and Abe take a swing at ‘golf diplomacy’ during visit

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Trump and Abe take swing at 'golf diplomacy' during visit President Donald Trump, third from right, and first lady Melania Trump, hidden at left, sit down to dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have spent the day in Florida, looking to forge a closer relationship over a round of “golf diplomacy.”

The two leaders spent the second day of their summit at a number of Trump’s properties.

CGTN’s Steve Mort reports.
Follow Steve Mort on Twitter @mobilemort

Trump and Abe take a swing at 'golf diplomacy' during visit

Trump and Abe take a swing at 'golf diplomacy' during visit

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have spent the day in Florida, looking to forge a closer relationship over a round of “golf diplomacy.” The two leaders spent the second day of their summit at a number of Trump’s properties. CGTN’s Steve Mort reports.
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Trump and Abe rested and relaxed in Florida, much of it out of glare of the cameras. While the two leaders spent time getting to know each other, it was also a working weekend as their two delegations continued talks on pressing issues facing the U.S.-Japanese relationship.

Prime Minister Abe is the first foreign leader to stay at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The U.S. is hoping to send a signal it still views Japan as a key ally in Asia.

As First Lady Melania Trump and Mrs. Abe toured a Japanese garden in the nearby Delray Beach museum, the U.S. President took to Twitter to describe the Prime Minister and his wife as “a wonderful couple.”

Looking to cement a geopolitical relationship under strain in recent months, the two leaders spent the day playing golf while reporters were kept away. Instead, Trump posted a picture of the game on social media.

However, away from the golf course, the U.S. and Japanese delegations are using this weekend to take a swing at major economic and security issues.

Japan is deciding whether to press for a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership. Japan, along with 15 other nations including China, are engaged in talks on a separate trade deal excluding the U.S.

“Prime Minister Abe put in a lot of effort into the Trans Pacific Partnership. He’s expended a great deal of political capital, not only inside Japan, but across the region as well. And so I think there will be some time before the Japanese are ready to make a decision about what kind of bilateral economic partnership the United States and Japan might form,” Sheila Smith, senior fellow for Japan of the Council on Foreign Relations said.

The U.S., for its part, is seeking to reassure Japan that Washington will honor the two country’s mutual defense treaty.

During the U.S. presidential campaign Donald Trump questioned Tokyo’s financial contribution to America’s military presence in Japan.

Meanwhile, watchdogs say they’re concerned over the use of Donald Trump’s private members-only club to host a foreign leader. Mar-a-Lago costs $200,000 to join. Nevertheless, the White House said Abe’s stay is being given as a “gift” to the Japanese leader. Trump and Abe will join their wives for dinner before heading home Sunday.


Atiba Madyun discusses US-Japan relations

U.S. President Donald Trump is hosting Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Florida golf resort. How does Trump rebuild trust with Japan after TPP pullout? For more on the developing ties between the two countries, CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke to Atiba Madyun. Atiba Madyun is President/CEO of The Madyun Group (TMG), a government relations firm based in Washington, D.C.