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Trump hosts Abe with North Korea, trade on the agenda

Trump hosts Abe with North Korea, trade on the agenda”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi led the Chinese delegation, becoming the first foreign minister to visit Japan for bilateral talks since 2009.

Trump welcomed the two days of meetings at his private Mar-a-Lago club.

It is hard to argue that the dynamics of the US-Japan relationship have not changed.

Economically, Abe needs Trump to exclude Japan from the tariffs.

After staking out a hawkish position on North Korea, Abe was caught on the back foot when Trump announced he was open to a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There had been nary a word of warning, much less consultation, for America's closest friend in the western Pacific.

"I think the Japanese thought that Abe kind of knew how to handle Trump". This will be his sixth summit talks with Trump.

"Obviously, the president has got a great relationship there, and it's going to be centred primarily on preparation for talks with North Korea as well as a lot of trade discussion is expected to come up", she said. Because Abe has no scheduled summit with Kim Jong Un, there is a risk Japan may be left behind.

After five years in office, Abe is one of Japan's longest-serving, post-World War II prime ministers but has suffered plummeting poll ratings over allegations that a school linked to his wife got preferential government treatment in a land sale.

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The two leaders have a chunk of time free Wednesday and Trump indicated they would try to sneak in 18 holes. That said, alarmist moods are expressed in Japan, in particular by the well-known political scientist Watanabe, that Pyongyang, making steps towards Seoul and Washington, but ignoring Tokyo, aims to damage the tripartite relations of the United States, South Korea and Japan.

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

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Wang did not specifically mention the proposed U.S. trade policies, as its implementation and consequences were still unclear. Trump needs Abe because Japan commands attention in the region.

Trump's attitude toward Kim, however, has vacillated from suggesting he would welcome the North Korean ruler for "a hamburger on a conference table" to threatening to meet Kim's bellicose talk against the United States "with fire and fury".

"Not allowing North Korea to threaten the USA just means that we remain committed to achieving the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", a White House official said.

The Prime Minister's popularity hit a record low of 26.7 per cent in a survey conducted by Nippon TV, while according to Asahi's survey it fell by 31 per cent, the lowest in more than five years of Abe's term, much lower than April 2013, when his rating peaked at 65.7 per cent. His tough response to North Korean missile testing last year was a key part of his election campaign during last year's snap election.

Wang said his visit was China's answer to "positive" messages and policies by Japan.

Critics of the idea say it would be an empty promise enabling Pyongyang to continue developing its nuclear capabilities in secret while the United States stood down militarily. Abe is heading to U.S. Pres. "You guarantee the survival of our regime, which means you pull back your troops, your sanctions". The two ministers agreed on the importance of arranging respective visits by Abe to China and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan. Tokyo has made little progress negotiating for the return of more than a dozen citizens who were kidnapped by North Korea during the 1970s and 1980s.

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Shimada said Abe would make the case to Trump that releasing the abductees could help North Korea prove they can be trusted to negotiate in good faith after years of deception. Pyongyang has acknowledging abducting 13 Japanese, while Tokyo maintains North Korea abducted 17.

"Trump has been volatile on many issues; that's what many people worry about", said Takeo Hoshi, director of the Japan program at Stanford's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Then there's the matter of trade.

Earlier Monday, Japan and China held what was billed as the fourth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue, the first such meeting since August 2010.

So far Trump has proven flexible about Abe's reluctance to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement.

Another issue troubling Japan are the tariffs the United States imposed on steel and aluminum imports into the country.

Abe will be reluctant to commit to launching two-way trade negotiations, knowing that Trump officials will insist on substantial market openings, especially in agriculture, said Mireya Solis, a Japan scholar at the Brookings Institution. After meeting Abe, Wang told reporters that Beijing wanted to place "Sino-Japanese cooperation at a new starting point" and cooperate on energy, financial and environmental issues.

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