President Trump says Korean peace talks have his blessing

Lester Mason
April 18, 2018

Clouded by scandals in Washington and Tokyo, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are hoping to engineer some positive P.R. this week in sunny Mar-a-Lago. A meeting between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected in next week.

"They do have my blessing to discuss the end of the war". And what better setting for a diplomatic breakthrough than the opulence of the Winter White House, whose coat of arms the president requisitioned, replacing the Latin word Integritas ("integrity") with "Trump"?

Another irritant on trade is that Japan has not been given an exemption to tariffs on steel and aluminium exports to the United States, unlike the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

"For the American side at the moment, it's more of a thought than a policy, that's for sure", said Larry Kudlow, the new director of Trump's National Economic Council. "That's why this is such an important meeting".

The official visit began on Tuesday afternoon as an honour cordon of uniformed service-members lined the palm-fringed drive to the club.

Speaking as he welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his private club in Florida, Trump confirmed that the two Koreas are negotiating an end to hostilities. Japan was the only major U.S. ally not to be exempted from Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trade is also on the agenda for Trump and Abe.

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They're also expected to play a round of golf.

The talks come ahead of a potential meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

This time, Abe's visit comes weeks after Trump took him - and the region - by surprise by announcing he had accepted an invitation to sit down with Kim following months of increasingly heated rhetoric over the North's nuclear weapons program.

The Trump-Abe meetings come as experts warn the United States and Japan have drifted apart on issues like North Korea and trade since Trump feted Abe at the White House followed by a joint trip to his Florida compound last February. The U.S. had a trade deficit with Japan previous year of $56 billion. The Japanese premier has voiced fears that short- and medium-range missiles that pose a threat to Japan might not be part of the US negotiations.

Abe says: "I'd like to commend Donald's courage in his decision to have the upcoming summit meeting with the North Korean leader". Fourteen months later, Trump is preparing for talks with Kim, leaving Abe feeling sidelined. Trump opened the possibility of rejoining last week amid a trade dispute with China. Japan, however, has shown little interest in bilateral trade talks with the U.S. "The president regards them as two different issues", he said.

US, North Korea holding talks at "very high levels" Hoyer: Dems eying ways to roll back GOP tax law New Jersey governor signs automatic voter registration bill MORE on Tuesday said the USA has spoken directly to North Korea ahead of a planned summit meeting between Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un.

Abe is also expected to push the issue of Japanese abductees, one of his top policy priorities.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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