Trump nudges Japan on trade to kick off Tokyo state visit

U.S. President Donald Trump opened a state visit to Japan on Saturday by needling the American ally over its trade imbalance with the US. “Perhaps that is why you want me a lot,” he joshed.

Trump additionally promoted the U.S.  and his personal management, saying “there’s by no means been a greater time” to make investments or do enterprise in America, as he urged company leaders to come.

The president’s first occasion after arriving in Tokyo was a reception with a number of dozen Japanese and American enterprise leaders on the U.S. ambassador’s residence. He stated the 2 international locations “are onerous at work” negotiating a trade settlement.

“I’d say that Japan has had a considerable edge for a lot of, a few years, however that is OK,” Trump stated, joking that “possibly that is why you want me a lot.”

His feedback underscored the competing dynamics of a state visit designed to present off the lengthy U.S.-Japan alliance and the shut friendship between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the same time as trade tensions run excessive.

Trump landed from his in a single day flight shortly after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck simply south of Tokyo and rattled town.

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Japanese enterprise leaders occasion in Tokyo on Saturday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Abe has deliberate a largely ceremonial, four-day visit to swimsuit Trump’s whims and ego. It is a part of Abe’s attraction technique that some analysts say has spared Japan from the complete weight of Trump’s trade wrath.

Abe and Trump deliberate to play golf Sunday earlier than Abe offers Trump the prospect to current his “President’s Cup” trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling championship match. The White Home stated the trophy is almost 1.5 metres tall and weighs 27-30 kg.

On Monday, Trump will change into the primary head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito since he ascended to the throne this month.

“With all of the international locations of the world, I am the visitor of honour on the greatest occasion that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump stated earlier than the journey.

The president is threatening Japan with probably devastating U.S. tariffs on international autos and auto elements. He has recommended he’ll go forward with the trade penalties if U.S. Trade Consultant Robert Lighthizer fails to win concessions from Japan and the European Union.

Trump had predicted {that a} U.S.-Japan trade deal may very well be finalized throughout his journey. However that is unlikely on condition that the 2 sides are nonetheless determining the parameters of what they’ll negotiate.

He nonetheless portrayed the negotiations in a optimistic gentle in his remarks to the enterprise group.

“With this deal we hope to tackle the trade imbalance, take away boundaries to United States exports and guarantee equity and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting nearer,” Trump stated. 

Japan’s courtship with Trump

He praised the “very particular” U.S.-Japan alliance that he stated “has by no means been stronger, it is by no means been extra highly effective, by no means been nearer.”

Abe made a strategic choice earlier than Trump was elected in November 2016 to focus on Japan’s relationship with the U.S.

Abe rushed to New York two weeks after that election to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower. Final month, Abe and his spouse, Akie, celebrated Melania Trump’s birthday throughout a White Home dinner.

The motorcade for U.S. President Donald Trump and his spouse Melania Trump heads towards the U.S. ambassador’s residence for a gathering with enterprise leaders in Tokyo. Trump is on a four-day state visit in Japan. (Koji Harada/Kyodo Information by way of AP)

Abe and Trump are probably to meet for the third time in three months when Trump returns to Japan in late June for a summit of the G20 wealthy and growing nations.

Behind the grins and private friendship, nevertheless, there may be deep uneasiness over Trump’s menace to impose tariffs on Japanese autos and auto elements on nationwide safety grounds. Such a transfer can be extra devastating to the Japanese financial system than earlier tariffs on metal and aluminum.

Trump lately agreed to a six-month delay, sufficient time to carry Abe previous July’s Japanese parliamentary elections.

Additionally at situation is the lingering menace of North Korea, which has resumed missile testing and lately fired a sequence of short-range missiles that U.S. officers, together with Trump, have tried to play down regardless of an settlement by the North to maintain off on additional testing.

Trump’s nationwide safety adviser, John Bolton, instructed reporters Saturday earlier than Trump arrived that the short-range missile checks had been a violation of UN Safety Council resolutions and that sanctions should keep in place.

Bolton stated Trump and Abe would “discuss ensuring the integrity of the Safety Council resolutions are maintained.”

It marked a change in tone from the view expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a latest tv interview. He stated “the moratorium was centered, very centered, on intercontinental missile methods, those that threaten the US.” That raised alarm bells in Japan, the place short-range missiles pose a critical menace.

Bolton commented a day after North Korea’s official media stated nuclear negotiations with Washington wouldn’t resume except the U.S. deserted what the North described as calls for for unilateral disarmament.


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