Trump, Japan's Abe to hold summit amid air of uncertainty

Soon after being elected, Mr Trump, who had during the campaign slammed China's allegedly unfair trade practices, indicated the "one China" policy, in which the U.S. recognises Taiwan as part of China, may be reviewed.

A new trade relationship between two of the world's largest economies will set a precedent for other countries and the new US leadership. After all, Japan is no ordinary partner.

He cited high-speed railway technology as an example of potential contributions Japan could make to US infrastructure building, one of Trump's key policy issues.

Even as the global community remains negative toward Trump, Abe agreed to an unusually warm reception that involved spending nearly two full days with the president, including golf at a resort in Florida. "We're committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance".

Abe declined to address the contentious executive order, but did note that managing immigration is a challenging security responsibility for all nations.

For Abe, all the effort appeared to largely pay off.

Trump hosted Abe at Trump Tower a year ago in his first talks with a foreign leader after his surprise win in the November presidential election. Using the rationale that it was a domestic issue, however, Abe refrained from commenting about the controversial travel ban issued by Trump that has led to sharp confrontations in the United States. As the limousine pulled up to the doors of the West Wing, Trump was there waiting.

Abe spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ahead of his meeting with Trump where he pointed out that "a whopping majority" of Japanese cars running on American roads are manufactured in the United States by American workers.

"That's the one thing about golf - you get to know somebody better on a golf course than you will over lunch", Trump recently told a radio interviewer. The protocol in the Oval Office was odd.

Abe denounced the launch as "absolutely intolerable" while top government spokesman Yoshihide Suge told reporters in Tokyo it was "clearly a provocation to Japan and the region".

Mr Abe told parliament last week that he plans to discuss creating jobs and building infrastructure in the United States to help assuage Mr Trump's concerns over trade and stress that Japanese automotive companies have directly or indirectly created 1.5 million jobs.

This came a day after Mr Trump, in a phone call with China's President Xi Jinping, reaffirmed that the USA would not change its "one China" policy.

Kim Jong-un's regime has been subject to harsh economic sanctions, including restrictions on coal shipments, because of its weapons testing.

As Abe was laying it on thick, Trump nodded and made the occasional gesture in Abe's direction, but was apparently not wearing the earpiece providing simultaneous translation from Japanese.

This weekend, Abe and his wife will be a guest of the President and First Lady at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where a round of golf is on the agenda.

  • Salvatore Jensen