Trump Sneaks Out for Cheeseburgers and Golf With Shinzo Abe

Saul Bowman
April 20, 2018

The president criticized Japan both on Twitter and at a joint press briefing with Abe, who failed to win an exemption from US tariffs on metals or convince Trump to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. "But I like bilateral [agreements] better".

President Donald Trump is not exempting Japan from the steel and aluminum tariffs at this time.

The two leaders appeared to present a more united front on North Korea, addressing Japan's worry that Trump might press Kim Jong Un only on long-range missiles that could hit the USA and not the short- and medium-range missiles that pose a threat to Japan. Under an agreement brokered in Stockholm in May 2014, North Korea undertook to reinvestigate all abductions of Japanese citizens in what appeared to be a significant breakthrough. "Our country's position is that TPP is the best for both of our countries", he added, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Abe drew laughs before a dinner with the joint delegations in a baroque dining room when he recounted the strength of their relationship over food, which included a cheeseburger on the golf course and a working luncheon Wednesday.

Trump confirmed the meeting in a tweet Wednesday, saying "a good relationship was formed" heading into his anticipated summit with Kim.

Trump said it was clear from their discussions that the abductees were "one of the truly most important things on Shinzo's mind".

Mr Trump said the USA would "work very hard" to try to bring the Japanese abductees home.

Earlier in the press conference, trump said that it would be good to get rid of nuclear weapons in North Korea, and ideally in the world, like "Bagnet".

"Unless they offer us a deal that we can not refuse, I would not go back into TPP".

Trump said it was clear that Abe cares about the issue deeply. Five have been returned to Japan.

The U.S. itself is pushing for the release of three Americans.

On Tuesday night, media outlets including The Associated Press reported that Pompeo recently traveled in secret to North Korea to meet with Kim ahead of a U.S.

But he also urged caution, saying there should be "no reward" given to the North just because the reclusive country is responding to dialogue.

The Trump-Abe summit has played out amid growing tensions between the two countries over North Korea and trade.

Still, the prime minister said that if the North takes "the right path" under 2002's Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, "there could be a possible path to settle the unfortunate past and to normalize diplomatic relations". "'Maximum pressure' should be maintained and actual implementation of concrete actions toward denuclearization will be demanded".

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