All Sunday papers reported on President Trump’s planned arrival in Japan this morning for a three-day visit. Mainichi wrote that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will confirm close cooperation in applying greater pressure on North Korea and that the governments of the U.S. and Japan are making final arrangements for releasing a joint press statement on the strengthened alliance between the two nations that will supplement the comprehensive joint statement issued at the U.S.-Japan summit in Washington in February. Sankei wrote that the response to North Korea will be the top item on the agenda for the meeting between President Trump and PM Abe and that the two leaders will confirm cooperation in applying further pressure on Pyongyang.
Nikkei wrote that attention will be focused on whether during his visit to Japan President Trump will urge the nation to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. and agree to negotiate a bilateral FTA. The paper wrote that the GOJ is paying keen attention to remarks to be made by President Trump because although Japan is hoping that economic talks between Washington and Tokyo will focus on their cooperation in energy and infrastructure development, it will be difficult for Japan to dismiss the issue of a bilateral FTA if President Trump raises it at his summit meeting with Abe. Mainichi speculated that the President will likely call on the Japanese and Chinese leaders to reduce their nations’ trade surplus with the United States during his visits to Tokyo and Beijing and that the President may ask Japan to launch negotiations on a bilateral FTA.
Friday’s Mainichi also took up President Trump’s Asia trip, projecting that North Korea’s relentless provocations and the U.S. trade deficit with East Asian countries will be the two major discussion topics in his meetings with regional leaders, including Prime Minister Abe and Chinese President Xi. The daily said the U.S. leader intends to call attention to his administration’s commitment to deepening engagement with Asia.
Saturday’s Yomiuri ran a similar story, speculating that the U.S. leader chose Japan as the first stop on his East Asia trip to play up his strong partnership with PM Abe. Noting that President Trump made a number of comments discounting U.S. allies during the election campaign, the paper said the President is now emphasizing his administration’s policy of strengthening the alliance relationships with Asian partners in the face of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.
In a related development, all papers reported that President Trump has decided to extend his Asia trip by one day to attend the East Asia Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 14, conjecturing that the U.S. leader apparently responded to regional concerns that the absence of the U.S. from the major international conference would allow China and Russia to exercise leadership in the region.