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DPRK to loom large in today’s U.S.-Japan summit

All papers projected that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will hold in-depth discussions on how to deter North Korea at their official summit meeting today, noting that the two leaders are expected to emphasize mutual coordination on ratcheting up the pressure on the defiant regime. The premier is likely to talk about Japan’s policy of stepping up its unilateral sanctions. The two leaders will also pledge mutual efforts to resolve the abduction issue. Quoting a GOJ source as saying, “It is important for us to prompt the President to state once again that the U.S. is with Japan one hundred percent,” Nikkei speculated that the two leaders may exchange views on concrete military options against the DPRK.


In a related development, most papers took up press remarks made by President Trump yesterday while en route to Japan that his administration will make a decision soon on whether or not to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Meanwhile, according to a GOJ source cited by Nikkei, President Trump said to PM Abe while playing golf on Sunday: “The North Korea issue must be resolved. I will resolve it.” Several papers wrote that Japanese abductee Hitomi Soga will meet with the President today.


According to Mainichi, an unnamed senior USG official said yesterday that President Trump and PM Abe will discuss bilateral defense cooperation on North Korea, especially on how to counter cyberattacks. The two officials will also exchange views on trilateral coordination with South Korea on missile defense and anti-submarine warfare.   


On issues other than North Korea, President Trump and PM Abe are set to discuss quadrilateral partnership by the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India to create a free and open Indo-Pacific region in order to deter China’s maritime advancement. Several papers noted that Japanese officials are bracing for the possibility of the U.S. leader mentioning the need to launch bilateral FTA talks. According to Nikkei, the President and the premier exchanged views on trade issues while playing golf yesterday. The daily said that although Abe is hoping to deflect possible criticism of the bilateral trade imbalance by highlighting Tokyo’s willingness to support U.S. energy and infrastructure exports, the President may still demand concrete measures for increasing U.S. exports to Japan in such areas as autos and agriculture.  

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