Japan-US trade surplus edges down as Abe, Trump meet

Abe underscores TPP as he and Trump remain at loggerheads over trade issues

Abe underscores TPP as he and Trump remain at loggerheads over trade issues

While President Donald Trump hit his Florida golf course with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, first lady Melania Trump engaged Abe's wife in a perhaps more educational activity.

Mr. Trump said Wednesday during a second day of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he wants to see "free, fair and reciprocal trade" between the two countries and a whittling away of the trade deficit. "We have way passed patience for more investigations and paperwork repeated".

Trump, who was hosting Abe and his wife at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, said a campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear weapons. Trump and Abe spent Wednesday morning golfing at one of Trump's nearby courses in their latest show of "golf diplomacy", and US officials signaled Tuesday that Trump could be open to exempting Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs that Abe opposes.

"We've never been in a position like this with that regime, whether it's father, grandfather or son", he said.

Abe praised Trump's "unwavering conviction" in "addressing the issue of North Korea". "Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn't work". Among the points of discussion will be negotiations between the United States and North Korea and the recent visit to North Korea by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Mr. Trump, asked Tuesday if any of them are in the USA, responded, "no".

As Trump stopped to make brief remarks to a reporter, confusion ensued when the president appeared to suggest, in response to a shouted question, that he had spoken directly with North Korea's non-tie-wearing dictator, Kim Jong Un. Trump also hinted on Tuesday and confirmed on Wednesday that his nominee for the top US diplomatic position, Mike Pompeo, met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un last week.

Mr Trump on Wednesday confirmed the visit in a tweet, saying "a good relationship was formed" heading into their anticipated summit.

"As I've said before, there is a bright path available to North Korea when it achieves denuclearization in a complete and verifiable and irreversible way", he added.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump said North and South Korea are negotiating an end to hostilities before next week's meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

The two Koreas have meanwhile been pressing ahead with preparations for the inter-Korean summit next week.

In between, Trump and Abe enjoyed a almost five-hour round of golf at the nearby Trump International Golf Club.

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