Japan, China hold high level economic dialogue after 8 years

Eel is a delicacy enjoyed all over Japan

During their two-day meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago vacation resort starting later Tuesday local time, Abe will seek cooperation to resolve the outstanding issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago.

Trump's agreement to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a session expected in late May or early June at a place yet to be determined, has also raised some concerns among Japanese officials.

Beijing responds with vehemence to the USA hike in tariffs over imports of steel and aluminum. Trump may be facing strong political headwinds of his own, but Abe is in rougher shape, beset by cronyism scandals amid speculation that his days in office are numbered.

"I would like to confirm (with Trump) that we will maintain maximum pressure on North Korea toward its complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of nuclear weapons and missiles", Abe said.

When Trump hosted Abe at his private Mar-a-Lago club just weeks after his inauguration, North Korea launched its first missile test of Trump's administration, and the two delivered a joint statement denouncing the launch.

"I can tell you from negotiations I've had with the North Koreans in the Bush administration - and Democrats in the Clinton administration will tell you the same thing - when the North Koreans say denuclearisation of Korean peninsula what they mean is that the USA has to end is nuclear umbrella over Japan and South Korea and withdraw its forces and end its threat".

"He wants to make sure we have good trade deals, and we'll see what that looks like", replied Sanders to a reporter's question on whether Trump would discuss with Abe rejoining TPP.


A survey by broadcaster Nippon TV released on Sunday showed Abe's support had sunk to 26.7 percent, the lowest since the conservative lawmaker took office in December 2012.

Trump and Abe are no strangers. Abe has been one of the most outspoken advocates on the issue of Japanese abductees, critical of the inability of past governments to get Pyongyang to account for the missing.

Thieliant said the United States could use a possible exemption for Japan as a bargaining chip to move forward talks on trade.

Tokyo and Beijing discussed shared concerns, including the imposition of high US tariffs on imported steel, a measure that would affect Chinese and Japanese producers.

Finally, both Abe and Trump need a political boost. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Japanese protesters gathered in front of parliament, calling for the prime minister's resignation; the approval ratings of Abe and his cabinet are at Trumpian levels.

Despite the move from the USA, there has yet to be any counterstrike, and with China and Japan striking a calm tone, fears of a trade war have become somewhat abated. "Prime Minister Abe needs this reassurance, but will Trump provide it?"

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