President-elect Donald Trump met Thursday with his first world leader since he won the election last week.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a “very candid discussion” with Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan. After their 90-minute meeting, Abe told reporters, “[I am] convinced that Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have confidence.”
The prime minister further noted that the U.S. and Japan will be able to “maintain a relationship of trust.”
On the campaign trail, Trump presented Japan as a trade rival, blasted the Japanese for not paying their share for U.S. defense, and threatened to tear up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal supported by Abe and his administration. Trump’s comments alarmed Japanese officials.
As the meeting between Abe and Trump was “unofficial,” Abe refused to disclose whether these issues have been addressed.
Abe did, however, comment that the conversation took place in a “warm atmosphere” and that he would like to meet with Trump again in the future to hold “wider and deeper talks.”
Prior to the meeting, the prime minister said that he wanted to “build trust.”
“I am very honored to see the President elect ahead of other world leaders,” he said before leaving for the meeting, “The Japan-US alliance is the axis of Japan’s diplomacy and security. The alliance becomes alive only when there is trust between us. I would like to build such a trust with Mr. Trump.”
His comments on the meeting suggest that the two have made a positive step in that direction.
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