US pres­i­dent hosts Abe with North Korea on agenda

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hosts Japan’s Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago re­sort Tues­day, with both men un­der pres­sure to de­liver some­thing more than bon­homie and birdies.

The Ja­panese prime min­is­ter will make his sec­ond visit to Trump’s os­ten­ta­tious Palm Beach, Florida es­tate, when the fo­cus will be on trade and se­cu­rity.

Last year, Trump and Abe traded fist bumps and high fives as they snuck in a round of golf in Palm Beach and a re­turn leg near Tokyo, tuck­ing into burg­ers with ketchup for good mea­sure.

“Ob­vi­ously, the pres­i­dent has got a great re­la­tion­ship there,” said White House press sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders look­ing for­ward to meet­ings this Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

But with Abe’s ap­proval rat­ing lan­guish­ing at its low­est level in years and Trump mired in con­tro­ver­sies and crises too nu­mer­ous to list, both are un­der pres­sure.

“Long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ships are com­pli­cated, and the stakes of their sec­ond ren­dezvous at Mar-a-Lago this week are high,” said Mireya So­lis of the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion.

Trump’s de­ci­sion to hold an im­prob­a­ble sum­mit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un this May or June was an­nounced with­out con­sult­ing Abe. And worse, it was an­nounced by a South Korean of­fi­cial.

Since then Tokyo of­fi­cials have watched in hor­ror as China and South Korea – an ally, but an un­easy one – take on a more di­rect hand in in­flu­enc­ing the out­come of a nu­clear cri­sis that places Japan’s very ex­is­tence in ques­tion.

Py­ongyang has lobbed test­mis­siles over the sea of Japan, trig­ger­ing pub­lic warn­ing alerts. The ab­duc­tion of Ja­panese cit­i­zens by North Korea re­mains a high pro­file do­mes­tic is­sue.

As he left Japan, Abe told re­porters he would be re­it­er­at­ing Tokyo’s “max­i­mum pres­sure” pol­icy to­wards Py­ongyang, and that the “im­por­tant ab­duc­tion is­sue” would be high on his agenda.

“I will use all my strength so we see progress to­wards res­o­lu­tion of the ab­duc­tion is­sue,” he said.

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