Japan’s PM confident in Trump’s diplomacy
First foreign leader to meet US president-elect
NEW YORK: Japan’s leader voiced confidence about Donald Trump as he became the first foreign leader to meet the US president-elect, who was narrowing in on cabinet choices. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met for 90 minutes with the president-elect Thursday evening at Trump Tower to sound him out after a campaign that included rhetoric that alarmed many US allies. “As an outcome of today’s discussions, I am convinced Mr Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe told reporters, describing a “very warm atmosphere.” He gave no specifics. Japan is one of Washington’s closest allies, but Trump alarmed Tokyo during the campaign by musing about pulling the thousands of US troops from the region, and suggesting that officially pacifist Japan may need nuclear weapons.
Trump also vowed while campaigning to tear up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade pact backed by outgoing Democratic President Barack Obama and which Abe had made a top priority.
Also at the meeting with Abe was Trump’s model-turned-business executive daughter Ivanka and her husband, real estate developer and publisher Jared Kushner. The presence of the couple, who have emerged as key advisors, underscores the family’s influence as the president-elect readies to take power.
Flynn as top security adviser?
Trump on Friday will head to his exclusive golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, transition officials said, a location that offers more seclusion and comes amid complaints about the congestion in front of Trump Tower on New York’s bustling Fifth Avenue. Trump, who has been interviewing Republican operatives for top cabinet posts, appeared to be zeroing-in on staunch supporters but also considering former rivals.
The president-elect has offered the role of national security adviser to retired general Michael Flynn, a military intelligence officer and staunch campaign loyalist, several US media outlets reported late Thursday, citing transition team sources. It was unknown if Flynn has accepted the job, which does not require senate confirmation.
A former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012-2014, Flynn was sharply critical of Obama administration policies. Flynn however was ousted from that job amid reports of an abrasive management style and clashes with senior officials. During the campaign his vocal support for Trump gave the businessman credibility with veterans despite the billionaire’s lack of military service. And at the Republican National Convention, Flynn led chants of “Lock her up!”-calling for Democrat Hillary Clinton to be imprisoned.
Trump also met with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and hinted that he would offer him a prime position. Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters.
NEW YORK: This handout picture, released by Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat yesterday shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) being welcomed by US President-elect Donald Trump (R) beside Ivanka Trump (C) and her husband Jared Kushner (L).—AFP