Donald Trump, Japan's Shinzo Abe seek consensus on North Korea amid strains

Donald Trump, Japan's Shinzo Abe seek consensus on North Korea amid strains

Donald Trump, Japan's Shinzo Abe seek consensus on North Korea amid strains

Throughout Kim's push to develop a credible threat to the USA beyond its Pacific outposts and United States troops based in Japan and South Korea, Abe has faithfully stuck to the White House line on Pyongyang's nuclear program: that unconditional talks are pointless, and that economic pressure must be backed by the threat of military action.

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. Abe is heading to U.S. Pres. A poor summit showing could further undermine Abe's position at home.

Like the United States leader, Mr Abe has found himself at the centre of criticism, in his case allegations of cronyism and the mishandling documents by ministries. But he has suffered plummeting poll ratings over allegations that a nationalist school linked to his wife got preferential government treatment in a land sale.

Mr Abe weathered both scandals a year ago, but the discovery of new evidence has reignited the charges.

Separately, the Defense Ministry has acknowledged mishandling documents related to a former peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, and a top Finance Ministry official has been accused of sexual harassment. Other party leaders with an eye on the premiership are ready to pounce should Abe fall, though he has bounced back from setbacks before. It will also serve as a test of whether the fond personal relationship the two leaders have forged on the golf course and over meetings and phone calls has chilled over Trump's recent moves, including his failure to exempt Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

"While playing golf, they can take time and exchange views on a range of issues while deepening their relationship of trust", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular briefing Tuesday.

Tokyo fears the possibility of a separate deal at the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, when the North Korean side can agree to abandon the nuclear weapons carriers, capable to reach the main American territory, while small and medium-range missiles will remain out of this agreement. That summit is expected in May or early June. Pyongyang has acknowledging abducting 13 Japanese in the late 1970s and early '80s, while Tokyo maintains North Korea abducted 17.

"I want to reaffirm our cooperation on North Korea, our cooperation on economic matters, and show the strong ties between our two countries", Abe told reporters before leaving Tokyo.

Abe said he hopes a planned visit to Japan by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for a summit, scheduled to take place in May between Japan, China and South Korea, will be an opportunity to improve bilateral ties in a variety of fields under strategic relations for mutual benefits.

"Mr. Abe wants to confirm their cooperation and eliminate the image that Japan is left out of the loop", he said. The turn in North Korea's policy, expressed by Kim's conciliatory remarks, is regarded in Tokyo as a result of the maximum pressure strategy against the DPRK, which Japan always supported.

Japan wants Trump to avoid a deal in which Pyongyang gives up ballistic missiles that can hit the USA mainland but keeps shorter-range missiles that threaten Japan.

Japan could also express support for a USA return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that Trump abandoned on taking office.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he was looking forward to working with Abe on on trade and military security.

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