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US-Japan ties are ‘a cornerstone of regional peace and stability’, says US President Donald Trump

Donald Trump greeted the President of Japan in the white House and stated that the US-Japan relationship is "a cornerstone of regional peace and stability"

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Donald Trump and Shinzo abe, Wikimedia
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Washington, Feb 11, 2017:  US President Trumphas pledged close security and economic cooperation with Japanand called the alliance between the two nations “a cornerstone of regional peace and stability”, edging away from campaign pledges to force Tokyo to pay more for the US’ security umbrella.

Trump welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a hug to the White House on Friday and shook his hand for a full 19 seconds where at one point Trump awkwardly jerked Abe’s hand forward. The US President lavished praise on Abe and offered strong reassurances about America’s commitment to Japan’s defence, the New York Times reported.

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“The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep,” Trump said at a press conference with Abe. “This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer.”

“It is important that both Japanand the US continue to invest very heavily in the alliance to build up our defence and our defensive capabilities. I also want to take this opportunity, Mr Prime Minister, to thank you and the people of Japanfor hosting our armed forces,” he said.

Echoing his words, Abe also stressed on the importance of strengthening economic and trade relations. Abe also said that he would welcome the US becoming “even greater.” The Japanese Prime Minister also invited Trump to visit Japan this year, which was accepted by Trump, according to the joint statement.

Japan also got continued US backing for its long-standing dispute with Beijing over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which China also claims. Trump said the US is committed to the security of Japanand all areas under its administrative control. The statement also said the two leaders affirmed that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty covered the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

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The two leaders were expected to discuss over the weekend Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the controversial 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which Tokyo had lobbied hard for, according to reports.

A White House official said Trump was paying for Abe and his wife to travel to Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida for the weekend, as a “gift” to the leader. The two leaders would be playing golf there on Saturday.

Their Oval Office meeting came hours after Trump reaffirmed Washington’s long-standing “one China” policy in a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Although Japanis a historic rival of China, Trump said that his long and “warm” conversation with Xi was good for Tokyo, too.

“I believe that will all work out very well for everybody, China, Japan, the United States and everybody in the region,” Trump said at a joint news conference with Abe.

Abe is the second foreign leader Trump has met since taking office, after Britain’s PM Theresa May. (IANS)

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
FILE IMAGE- Donald Trump

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS