U.S. President Donald Trump wrapped up the first leg of his five-nation Asia tour by highlighting U.S.-Japan ties and his close personal relationship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He also pushed for more balanced trade and a united front against Pyongyang. CGTN’s Terrence Terashima reports.
As widely expected, the DPRK’s missile and nuclear development dominated the talks between Trump and Abe.
Trump kicked off his visit in Tokyo with a visit to the US airbase and also met with the families of the Japanese abducted by Pyongyang. Shinzo Abe told the press that the US and Japan are committed in jointly resolving the “Threat”.
“We will shoot it down if and when necessary,” he said. “In any case, Japan and the United States will coordinate closely when the time comes.”
Further, Abe said he will announce further sanctions by freezing assets of 35 DPRK groups and individuals.
Though united, Trump did not forget America’s interest. President Trump said the “era of strategic patience” is over, and that he expects Japan to purchase “massive amounts” of military equipment from the U.S. More jobs for the United States—and more security for Japan.
The two leaders have agreed to continue to place pressure on DPRK, but on trade issues, the pressure is on Shinzo Abe. Trump asked Japan to open up for more “fair trade” and reduce America’s trade deficit.
“As a president of the United States, I am committed to achieving a fair, free, and reciprocal trading relationship,” Trump said. “We seek equal and reliable access for American exports to Japan’s market in order to eliminate our chronic trade imbalances and deficits with Japan.”
“Fair, Free and Reciprocal trade” would likely put pressure on Japan’s auto and agriculture sectors. Tokyo could struggle to defend its turf against Trump’s ‘America first’ policy.
President Trump chose to put it this way: “The Japanese people are thriving, your cities are vibrant and you’ve built one of the world’s most powerful economies. I don’t know if it’s as good as ours, I think not … And we’re going to try and keep it that way but you’ll be second.”
Trump heads to Seoul on Tuesday, where he’ll further discuss the tensions in the Korean peninsula with President Moon Jae-in. The trade negotiations with Japan will now be in the hands of Vice-President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.