Trump in Japan for N.Korea Talks

US President Donald Trump had his first country stop in Japan last November 5 for a 12-day tour in Asia. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted Trump in a meeting with the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. He was also scheduled to meet with Japanese and American service members.

 

As Trump dined and played golf with Abe, it was expected that the two leaders talked about the North Korea. It was reported that during a congratulatory call made by Trump for Abe’s victory at the recent snap elections, they discussed the need to be united in order to increase pressure on North Korea.

 

Photo credit to: http://www.businessinsider.com

 

According to the White House, Trump’s visit to Asia aims to “underscore his commitment to longstanding…alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm [U.S.] leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

 

However, Trump’s radical policy changes from the Obama administration made Asians question as to how genuine and committed the current American president is in seeing economic prosperity and security to the region.

 

Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which would supposedly lower the tariffs for 12 countries around the Pacific Rim including Japan and Mexico but excluding China. This was negotiated under then U.S. President Barrack Obama before Trump announced its withdrawal. The trade negotiation was seen as America’s long-term commitment to its longstanding allies in the Asia Pacific region.

 

Japan in this case will likely look for signs of continued support from the U.S.

 

Japan has been a pacifist nation after World War II. In its constitution that took effect in 1947, there is an article (which the US pushed to be added) that renounces war, threat and use of force as its sovereign right to settle international disputes.

 

However, Abe has been removing pacifist constraints on military’s defense strategy. Moreso now that his ruling coalition won more than two-thirds in the snap elections. The ongoing North Korea crisis has helped pushed his defense agenda even though about 50% of Japanese poll respondents disagree with revising the pacifist clause. If US would pull out of the regional disputes, it is possible that Abe might move his defense agenda forward.

 

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” set a day before his departure from Japan, the U.S. leader said that China might have a big problem with the warrior nation, a term he called Japan, over North Korea.

 

Reference: Trump kicks off his 12-day tour of Asia in Japan

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