BREAKING: After NY Talks, Abe Confident He Can Build Trust-Based Ties with Trump

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two talked about various issues but refrained from disclosing the contents of the meeting with Trump because the talks were unofficial.

He made the comments in New York after a meeting that was intended to smooth relations following Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.

Abe became the first world leader to meet Trump on Thursday, seeking reassurances over the future of the U.S.-Japan security and trade relations.

Abe met with Trump in New York, where the incoming president is working on setting up an administration after his surprise election victory last week that has injected new uncertainty into old U.S. alliances.

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“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and (after) the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said following the meeting.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric caused consternation in many world capitals, including Tokyo. Trump has said he would demand that allies such as Japan and South Korea contribute more to the cost of basing U.S. troops in their countries.

Such comments have worried Japan at a time when the threat from North Korea is rising, and China is challenging the U.S.-led security status quo in the Pacific.

The State Department has said it had yet to hear from Trump’s transition team, raising the prospect of the Republican holding the meeting with Abe without any input from career diplomats with deep experience dealing with Japan.

Both Japan and South Korea already pay considerable sums to support the U.S. bases, and note that it’s also in America’s strategic interest to deploy troops in the region.

Trump has suggested that Japan and South Korea could obtain their own nuclear weapons, rather than rely on U.S. deterrence, which risks a triggering an atomic arms races in Northeast Asia.

South Korea currently pays more than $800 million a year — about 50 percent of nonpersonnel costs of the U.S. military deployment on its soil — and is paying $9.7 billion more for relocating U.S. military bases, according to the Congressional Research Service. Japan pays about $2 billion a year, about half of the cost of the stationing U.S. forces….(read more)

Source: The Japan Times



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