Trump, Abe reaffirm pledge to apply maximum pressure on North Korea while keeping China in check
In Japan on the first leg of his first Asia trip, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to continue applying maximum pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons and ICBM development programs.
“Let’s have frank discussions on various global issues, particularly North Korea,” Abe said at the outset of a working lunch at the State Guest House.
In addition to trade and other military issues, it is believed that Trump and Abe also discussed re-listing North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a decision that Washington may look to announce later this year.
Outsized Chinese territorial claims, particularly regarding the South China Sea, were also on the agenda. Both leaders pledged to support the policy of the “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy,” in which rules of law and freedom of navigation are advocated. In addition, both pledged to widen cooperation among four countries that share common values — Japan, the United States, India and Australia — to keep China from spreading its influence in the Indian Ocean, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Analyst comment: Beyond mere platitudes, there does seem to be genuine interest in Japan for deeper cooperation with the United States — on the North Korean front, for sure, but also China, which Japan no doubt considers a longer-term and bigger threat to its national security.
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