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Trump lashes out at Japan for unfair trade

Posted November. 07, 2017 08:01,   

Updated November. 07, 2017 09:08


“Japan should purchase a massive amount of military equipment (from the United States),” said U.S. President Donald Trump at the bilateral summit with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on his second day in Japan Monday. He also complained that the United States has been treated unfairly in the international trade market, adding that it will make continuous efforts to fix such an imbalance existing in the trade with Japan, China and other countries.

Trump’s comments confirm‎ that the top priority placed on his 12-day Asia trip is the pursuance of the “America First” strategy. Economic and trade issues are expected to top the agenda at the South Korea-U.S. bilateral meetings as well, which will take place Tuesday when he leaves Japan and head to South Korea.

“Japan has purchased most of its military equipment from America,” said Abe, who tried to distract attention from trade related issues with golf diplomacy the day before. “We are considering purchasing American-made Aegis Ashore missile defense system, F-35 Lightning II and SM-3 Block IIA missiles.” Regarding the unfavorable balance of trade with the United States, the Japanese prime minister said that Japan “will deepen its discussion within the frame of the existing economic dialogue.”


President Trump reciprocated by agreeing with Japan on the need for cooperation to further develop India-Pacific region in an attempt to counter China’s growing assertiveness, mentioning the word “India-Pacific” while speaking. “A free and open India-Pacific,” a concept which was first suggested by Abe, seeks to strengthen cooperation between the United States, Japan, Australia and India to contain China’s ambition to increase its presence. If pursued, it is likely to leave South Korea with even less wiggle room for diplomacy with China.

Concerning North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, Abe stressed that he and Trump “reaffirmed the importance of trilateral cooperation between Japan, the United States and South Korea.” Speaking after the meeting with relatives of those abducted by North Korea, President Trump said that he had heard “the very sad stories.” “If Kim Jong Un could send them back, that would be the start of something I think would be something very special,” he added.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com