Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe April 17-18 to discuss the US president’s planned summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and other matters, the White House said Monday.
Trump and Abe will meet at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where they “will discuss the international campaign to maintain maximum pressure on North Korea,” the statement said.
The meeting, the third between Trump and Abe, will also “explore ways to expand fair and reciprocal trade and investment ties” between the United States and Japan.
Abe, who announced the visit Monday in Japan at a meeting with ruling lawmakers, said he planned to ask the US president to discuss issues related to North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals at Trump’s expected meeting with Kim Jong-un.
Japan has long maintained a hardline position on negotiations with Pyongyang, warning against “talks for the sake of talks.”
The prospect of a Trump-Kim summit, as well as talks between North and South Korea, appears to have pushed Tokyo to reassess its position, analysts said.
Japan fears the current diplomatic track could leave unaddressed the North’s short- and medium-range missile capabilities, as well as the emotional issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang during the Cold War.
Abe rose to political prominence on his calls for a tough line on North Korea, and attitudes only hardened after Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan in tests last year.
Also on Abe’s agenda, according to Japanese officials: US tariffs on Japanese aluminum and steel products.