Trump tweets about great progress in trade agreement with Japan
TOKYOUS President Donald Trump yesterday played golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and presented a trophy to the winner of a sumo tournament, turning to personal diplomacy for the second day of a Japan visit shadowed by tough trade talk.
Mr Trump is unhappy with Japan's large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached. The US and China are also engaged in an expensive trade war that has pounded financial markets worldwide.
But it was all smiles yesterday as the two leaders played golf and later, with wives Melania and Akie, watched giant sumo wrestlers grapple on the final day of a 15-day tournament won by rising Japanese star Asanoyama.
Despite the bonhomie, trade was never far from mind.
"Great progress being made in our trade negotiations with Japan. Agriculture and beef heavily in play," Mr Trump tweeted after arriving back in Tokyo from the the golf course.
"Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers."
Later, prior to the start of dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant where the food is handed to the diners on paddles, Mr Trump said the two had had a productive day.
"The Prime Minister and I talked a lot today about trade and military and various other things," he said. "I think we had a very productive day."
Mr Trump also shook things up by taking to Twitter yesterday to express his "confidence" in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite Pyongyang's recent weapons tests and deadlocked nuclear talks.
"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, apparently referring to weapons tests in early May.
Hours before Mr Trump landed on Saturday, his hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton told local media there was "no doubt" Pyongyang's recent missile tests had violated UN Security Council resolutions but insisted Washington was still ready to resume talks.
But Mr Trump tweeted: "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan (sic) a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that's sending me a signal?"
North Korea is one of the top issues on the agenda as Mr Trump meets with Mr Abe.
- REUTERS, AFP
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