Ja­pan’s PM con­fi­dent in Trump’s diplo­macy

First for­eign leader to meet US pres­i­dent-elect

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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