Trump and Abe tee off amid US-Japan trade tensions




  • In World
  • 2019-05-26 02:39:00Z
  • By DARLENE SUPERVILLE and JILL COLVIN

MOBARA, Japan (AP) - Golf never seems to be far behind whenever President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe get together.

So on Sunday, during a four-day state visit to Japan, the president jumped aboard the Marine One helicopter in Tokyo and flew south to the Mobara Country Club for a steamy morning round with the Japanese leader.

Abe is Trump's closest friend among world leaders and it's the fifth time they played golf together since Trump took office. Abe's strategy is to keep his country out of Trump's crosshairs amid U.S.-Japan trade tensions and the continued threat North Korea poses to both nations.

Later in the day, Abe will introduce Trump to Japan's ancient sport of sumo wrestling. The president will sit ringside at a championship match in Tokyo featuring the oversized athletes. He'll also present the winner with his own "President's Cup" trophy.

The leaders will also venture into Tokyo for a dinner double date with their wives.

A motorcade of golf carts ferried Abe to meet Trump when he arrived at the club. They exchanged a warm handshake, patted each other on the forearms and posed for a throng of journalists. Abe wore white pants and a dark blue sport coat. Trump wore a red half-zip pullover with a white shirt and dark pants. Japanese television later broadcast aerial footage of Trump swinging his club on the course.

Trump tweeted that he was "Going to play golf right now with @AbeShinzo. Japan loves the game." Abe told reporters as he left for Mobara that Sunday's weather was great for golf and "it seems we are in a good mood for sumo."

Neither leader spoke to reporters at the club before they climbed into a golf cart with Abe at the wheel. Trump ignored a shouted question from a U.S. reporter about whether he believed North Korea had violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Earlier Trump downplayed North Korea's recent series of short-range missile tests. He tweeted that the tests weren't a concern for him - even though they are for Japan.

"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," Trump wrote in a message that appeared to undermine his national security adviser, John Bolton, who told reporters Saturday the tests violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Trump said he "has confidence" that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "will keep his promise to me."

The president's attendance at the annual summer sumo tournament in Tokyo may bring back memories of the time he spent promoting the World Wrestling Federation. Trump is expected to sit ringside as the oversized men in loincloths grapple to win by pushing their opponents out of bounds or getting them to touch the floor with their body, except for the soles of their feet.

Trump has said he finds the sport "fascinating."

The trophy Trump plans to present to the winner stands nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and weighs between 60 and 70 pounds (27 and 32 kilograms), the White House said. The news media has dubbed it the "Trump Cup." The White House said it is called the "President's Cup."

The president also sought to manage expectations that he and Abe will make significant headway on trade issues when they hold more formal talks on Monday. Trump has been seeking a bilateral trade agreement with Tokyo since he pulled the U.S. out of the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement two years ago, though analysts expect no breakthroughs during Trump's visit.

Fox News Channel's White House Correspondent John Roberts tweeted that Trump telephoned him Sunday morning in Tokyo and told Roberts that he intended to wait until after Japan's parliamentary elections in July to push for a deal.

Trump had told business leaders after arriving in Tokyo on Saturday evening that the U.S. and Japan were "hard at work" negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement that he said would benefit both countries.

"With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we're getting closer," he said.

The Trump administration has been threatening Japan with new tariffs on imports of autos and auto parts on national security grounds. Trump has suggested he will impose tariffs if the U.S. can't wrest concessions from Japan and the European Union. In April, Japan's trade surplus surged almost 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion).

The president arrived in Japan on Saturday with his wife, first lady Melania Trump, to open the four-day visit.

On Monday, Trump will become the first head of state to meet with Japan's new emperor, Naruhito, since he ascended to the throne on May 1. Trump and Abe will also meet in a more formal setting and participate in a joint news conference. In the evening, Trump will be guest of honor at a banquet hosted by the emperor at Japan's Imperial Palace.

Trump is slated to head for Washington on Tuesday after he addresses U.S. sailors aboard the USS Wasp, stationed at Yokosuka.

___

Follow Superville and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dsupervilleap and https://twitter.com/colvinj

COMMENTS

More Related News

Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi
Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi

The top congressional Democrat said Monday she had agreed with Republicans on the need for a resolution to overturn Donald Trump's "dangerous" troop withdrawal from northern Syria, as the US president threatened tough sanctions against Ankara. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said congressional

Pentagon chief vows to cooperate with impeachment probe
Pentagon chief vows to cooperate with impeachment probe

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the Pentagon would cooperate with the congressional impeachment inquiry -- in an apparent break with President Donald Trump's policy to thwart the probe. Esper said his department would try to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats seeking records

Inside look at Melania Trump
Inside look at Melania Trump's daily diet, including her favorite meal

A former model, Melania is no stranger to a healthy lifestyle.

Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board as Trump Attacks
Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board as Trump Attacks

(Bloomberg) -- Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and promising to forego all foreign work if his father, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020.After months of keeping a relatively low-profile as President Donald Trump leveled a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations of corruption at him, the younger Biden is publicly vowing to avoid any conflict of interest.According to a statement released on his behalf by his lawyer George Mesires, Biden said he'll resign at the end of the month from the management company of a private equity fund that's backed by Chinese state-owned entities. He also pledged that he...

Trump backs Rudy Giuliani after report says president
Trump backs Rudy Giuliani after report says president's lawyer is under investigation

"So now they are after the legendary 'crime buster' and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani," Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.