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Abe, Trump talk on phone, mull meeting in New York next week: gov’t

TOKYO, Nov. 10, Kyodo — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump agreed in a telephone conversation Thursday that they would seek to hold a bilateral meeting Nov. 17 in New York, a senior Japanese government official said.


Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told reporters after the call that Abe and Trump confirmed their resolve to closely work together to ensure peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and discussed the role of the Japan-U.S. alliance in bilateral relations.


In the roughly 20-minute conversation, Abe stressed to Trump that “a strong Japan-U.S. alliance is an indispensible presence that supports peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to Hagiuda.


Trump told Abe that Japan and the United States have a brilliant partnership and he wants to strengthen that special relationship, Hagiuda said.

A meeting in New York on Nov. 17 would coincide with Abe’s expected attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders’ summit Nov. 19-20 in Peru.


Katsuyuki Kawai, a special adviser to Abe, is scheduled to visit Washington Nov. 14-18 to meet people close to Trump.


It is unusual for a Japanese leader to hold a summit with a U.S. president-elect before inauguration, Hagiuda said.


Japan’s prime minister at the time of Barack Obama’s election in November 2008, Taro Aso, did not hold talks with him until after his inauguration the following year.


Republican businessman Trump’s defeat of Democrat and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s election has prompted concern over how he will handle Japan-U.S. relations, given his lambasting of Japan’s trade and security practices during the campaign.

Tokyo stocks plunged Wednesday on news of his victory, although they rebounded strongly Thursday morning following an overnight rise in U.S. shares.


During Thursday’s call, which was requested by the Japanese government through its connections with Trump’s team, the president-elect repeatedly praised Abe’s record of economic policies, Hagiuda said.


But Abe and Trump did not mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that Japan and the United States signed with 10 other Pacific Rim nations in February, he said. Abe is pushing for Japan to ratify the TPP as soon as possible, but Trump roundly condemned the pact and other multilateral trade deals during his election campaign.


They also did not discuss Trump’s calls during the campaign for Japan and other U.S. allies to pay more than they currently do toward the costs of hosting U.S. forces, Hagiuda said.


Abe congratulated Trump in a statement Wednesday shortly after the election result was clear, saying he wants to further strengthen the bilateral alliance.

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