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President Trump, PM Suga agree to further develop U.S.-Japan alliance

The Monday editions of all national papers reported on the first teleconference between President Trump and Prime Minister Suga held on Sunday evening for about 25 minutes. The two leaders agreed to work together to further develop the bilateral alliance and to cooperate closely in the fight against the new coronavirus and in dealing with North Korea, including the abduction issue. According to Yomiuri, when the President called for further strengthening the alliance, Suga responded by saying that the alliance is “the cornerstone for regional peace and stability.” President Trump reportedly told Suga he is welcome to call him anytime “24 hours a day.”

 

Yomiuri wrote that although Suga has now taken his first step in building a relationship with President Trump, he is facing mounting issues. The paper said that negotiations on the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Japan and the bilateral trade talks are likely to begin before the end of the year, adding that the U.S. may increase its demands depending on the relationship between the two leaders. The daily also wrote that Suga will be required to navigate a difficult path as the U.S. and China are increasingly competing for technological superiority and at odds over China’s activities in the South China Sea. The paper added that Suga is expected to draw up by the end of this year a new policy for Japan’s missile defense, an important issue that affects the deterrence of the bilateral alliance. In addition, the daily wrote that Suga also needs to take into account the upcoming U.S. presidential election, including the possibility of having to build a relationship with a new U.S. president.

Yomiuri wrote that prior to his call with President Trump, Suga also spoke with his Australian counterpart Morrison over the phone and they agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

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