Trump says 'all ready' for Kim summit, as he hosts Japan PM
Five days before meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump said today the unprecedented summit was "all ready to go," as he welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House.
Trump and Abe were to hold a joint press conference at the White House at about 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), before heading to Canada for what promises to be a tense Group of Seven summit clouded by the US leader's aggressive trade policies.
But before tackling the thorny trade issue, Trump expressed unbridled optimism about his June 12 tete-a-tete with Kim in Singapore.
"The summit is all ready to go," Trump said, with Abe at his side. "It's going to be much more than a photo op." Since the first inkling that a Trump-Kim summit could be on the cards, Japan has repeatedly insisted that Washington be mindful not to let its guard down with the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang.
And by coming to Washington to see Trump for the second time in less than two months, Abe wants to be sure to get his point across to the US president, amid the intense diplomatic flurry over the future of the Korean peninsula.
Before leaving Tokyo, the Japanese leader emphasized that during his lightning visit to Washington, he hoped to "closely coordinate and agree" with Trump on an approach to the North Korea issue.
He clearly outlined what would need to happen for the summit to be a success: tangible progress on curbing the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as answers about Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.
During their last meeting at Trump's Florida retreat in April, the US president promised Abe to raise the politically sensitive abductions issue in any talks with Pyongyang.
But the subject is hardly a priority for the businessman-turned-president, whose strategy appears to be in constant flux. Above all, Trump seems most enthused by the notion of being the first sitting US leader to hold direct talks with a scion of the ruling Kim dynasty.
The intensifying diplomacy on North Korea has so far left Abe as the odd man out: Trump is preparing to meet Kim, while Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korea's Moon Jae-in have each already seen the North's leader twice.
For Richard Armitage, a former senior diplomat during the administration of George W. Bush, Tokyo runs a very real risk of finding itself out in the cold after the Trump-Kim talks.
"We should absolutely prevent decoupling -- decoupling Japanese and US security," he told AFP.
"This is and has been an aim of China and North Korea for a long time, and we can't allow this to happen. That would be falling into a terrible trap." Trump and Abe so far seem to have forged a sort of friendship, but even that bonhomie was revealed to be limited at their last meeting.
Today, it could again be put to the test -- beyond North Korea, they are also meant to discuss the controversial issue of tariffs, which Washington says were put in place to protect American workers.
"I will stress that measures to restrict trade would not serve the interests of any country," Abe said before heading to Washington. Japan had hoped to convince the US to shield it from fresh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and did not hide its bitter disappointment when those talks failed.
The government in Tokyo warned of the "grave impact" that US tariffs could have on bilateral ties and the world trading system.
"The US government's trade measures, citing its security, makes us concerned that they could disrupt the global market," government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Monday.
- Trump advises GOP: Quit wasting time on immigration 23 Jun 2018 | AP
- Trump threatens 20 per cent tariff on all imported EU cars 22 Jun 2018 | AFP
- Zoomcar launches 25 Electric vehicles at Miyapur Metro station 22 Jun 2018 | PTI
- YouTube to let users launch pre-recorded videos as live moment 22 Jun 2018 | IANS
- Twitter launches IIFA emoji 22 Jun 2018 | PTI
- Priyanka Chopra arrives in Mumbai with Nick Jonas in tow 22 Jun 2018 | IANS
- UK police arrest man after he claims to have a bomb 22 Jun 2018 | PTI
- After giving birth, New Zealand leader craves mac-n-cheese 22 Jun 2018 | AP
- EU tariffs on US goods come into force 22 Jun 2018 | IANS
- Melania Trump dons 'I really don't care, do u?' jacket 22 Jun 2018 | AP
Sunday EditionView All
17 Jun 2018 | VR Jayaraj | Kochi
In a swift move intended at stemming the protests brewing in the State police force against certain top officials’ ‘feudalistic’ practice of persecuting policemen and camp followers by using them as house servants, the Kerala Government on Saturday removed ADGP Sudesh Kumar, whose daughter was the other day booked for assaulting and verbally abusing his official police driver, from the position of head of the Armed Police Battalion. The action against...
STATE EDITIONSView All
23 Jun 2018 | PNS | Kochi
MCD still waiting for HC order on encroachment Dehradun: Days after the High Court ordered the officials to remove encroachment from different areas of Dehradun like markets, streets and footpaths in four weeks, the officials concerned said on Friday that they were still waiting for the order to come. They, however, assured that they would execute the order once they get a copy and read it thoroughly...