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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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U.N. Donald Trump’s Impeachment may be Possible: Key Lawmaker

Comey testified to a House panel on Friday about his role in 2016 election-related investigations of Trump's campaign.

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House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 7, 2017, on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. VOA

A key U.S. lawmaker said Sunday that Democrats in the House of Representatives could pursue impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, saying that the U.S. leader had “surrounded himself with crooks” and was part of a broad “conspiracy against the American people” to win the 2016 election.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat set to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when Democrats take control of the chamber next month, told CNN that lawmakers have to decide “how important” allegations are against Trump, but should pursue impeachment charges “only for serious offenses.”

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In these 2018 photos, Paul Manafort leaves federal court in Washington, left and attorney Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York. VOA

Nadler offered his thoughts two days after federal prosecutors accused former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, “in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump, of orchestrating $280,000 in hush money payments shortly before the 2016 election to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump so they would stay silent before Election Day.

Nadler said that if proven, the allegations against Trump were “certainly impeachable offenses.” That could lead to his removal from office, if the Senate were to convict him by at least a two-thirds vote, a doubtful proposition with Republican control of the Senate continuing in the Congress that takes office in January.

Nadler said lawmakers will have “to look at all this,” along with weighing what special counsel Robert Mueller concludes about allegations that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to help him win and that, as president, Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart the ongoing 19-month probe.

The U.S. Justice Department has a standing guideline against indicting sitting presidents, although they can be charged after leaving office. Nadler said, however, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the president from being indicted. Nobody should be above the law.”

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Stormy Daniels speaks during a ceremony for her in West Hollywood, Calif.. VOA

Trump has dismissed the latest allegations against him in connection with the payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal and allegations of Trump campaign contacts with Russia to help him win the election.

He used Twitter on Monday to repeat his frequent statement of “NO COLLUSION” between his campaign and Russia.

“So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,” Trump said. He went on to say “it was done correctly and there would not even be a fine,” further adding that if there were any problems then Cohen would be the one who was liable.

“Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced,” Trump said.

Trump has called for the end to the Mueller probe, but a Republican lawmaker, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, told ABC News, “I’ve always supported the Mueller investigation and continue to do so because I think it’s in the best interest of everyone involved, including, by the way, the president.”

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Seven-page government sentencing document for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer. VOA

Aside from Cohen, who is set to be sentenced Wednesday and faces several years of imprisonment, Mueller so far has secured guilty pleas or won convictions of Trump’s first national security adviser, his former campaign manager, his former deputy campaign manager, a foreign policy adviser and other lesser figures.

On Sunday, Trump assailed former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whom Trump fired while he was heading the Russia investigation before Mueller was named to lead the probe.

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Former FBI Director James Comey, with his attorney, David Kelley, right, speaks to reporters after a day of testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Comey testified to a House panel on Friday about his role in 2016 election-related investigations of Trump’s campaign and that of his challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state.

Also Read: SpaceX Drops Plan To Make its Falcon 9 Even More Reusable

“On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked,” Trump claimed on Twitter.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful! This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!” (VOA)