Abe to meet US pres­i­dent-elect next week

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

TOKYO: Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe will seek to es­tab­lish good per­sonal ties and pitch the im­por­tance of the bi­lat­eral se­cu­rity al­liance when he meets US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump in New York next week, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

A Ja­panese govern­ment of­fi­cial said the pair had al­ready talked by tele­phone and con­firmed close co­op­er­a­tion, stress­ing the im­por­tance of the Ja­panUS al­liance in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

Abe will meet Trump in New York next Thurs­day be­fore go­ing on to the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit in Peru.

Trump’s un­ex­pected vic­tory has fanned Ja­pan’s anx­i­ety about Wash­ing­ton’s com­mit­ment to se­cu­rity ar­range­ments in the face of a ris­ing China and a volatile North Korea.

His “Amer­ica First” rhetoric and calls for Ja­pan and South Korea to pay more of the cost for US troops in the re­gion or face their pos­si­ble with­drawal have wor­ried of­fi­cials.

So has his op­po­si­tion to a 12-na­tion pan-Pa­cific trade pact that was a linch­pin of Wash­ing­ton’s “pivot” to the re­gion.

“Abe has big con­cerns on trade and se­cu­rity and on both of these, can­di­date Trump has been de­cid­edly un­re­as­sur­ing,” said Jef­frey Kingston, di­rec­tor of Asian stud­ies at Tem­ple Univer­sity’s Ja­pan cam­pus.

Ja­panese com­pa­nies play a key role in the US econ­omy, em­ploy­ing more than 800,000 American work­ers. They contributed US$78 bil­lion (RM329.8 bil­lion) to US ex­ports in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the US em­bassy in Tokyo. – Reuters

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