Monday, February 13, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - China/Japan Diplomacy

"What's the future of relations with China, Japan under Trump?" PBS NewsHour 2/10/2017

COMMENT:  Note Trump's insensitivity on the nuclear weapon issue.  During my 22yr U.S. Navy carrier, I was stationed in Japan and I am very aware of their sensitivity in regards to nuclear weapons.  After Nagasaki and Hiroshima you cannot blame them, they KNOW the horrors of the use nuclear weapons.


SUMMARY:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with President Trump Friday amid growing concerns in Asia over trade, North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and China flexing its military muscle.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Evan Medeiros, former Senior Director for Asian Affairs during the Obama administration, about what U.S. relations with Asia look like going forward.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  As we mentioned earlier, the prime minister of Japan was at the White House today, the beginning of several days of talks with the president.

The visit comes amid growing concerns in Asia over trade, over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, and over China flexing its military muscle.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The two leaders presented a united front, despite differences that have emerged in the early days of the Trump presidency.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had pushed hard for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, but President Trump has officially abandoned it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  On the economy, we will seek a trading relationship that is free, fair, and reciprocal, benefiting both of our countries.

SHINZO ABE, Japanese Prime Minister (through interpreter):  I am quite optimistic that good results will be seen from the dialogue.  Now the free and fair common set of rules will be created for free trade in the region.  That was the purpose of TPP.  That importance has not changed.  I, myself, believe that.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Abe also talked up Japanese industry's contributions to the U.S. economy, after Mr. Trump blasted Toyota last month for planning a new plant in Mexico.

Defense is another potential flash point.  During the campaign, candidate Trump suggested Japan and South Korea could pay more for their own defense, up to and including nuclear weapons.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  North Korea has nukes.  Japan has a problem with that.  I mean, they have a big problem with that.  Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.

QUESTION:  With nukes?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Today, however, the president appeared to step back.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  It is important that both Japan and the United States continue to invest very heavily in the alliance to build up our defense.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Some 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, the largest American outpost in Asia.  Last week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis made Asia his first overseas visit.  In Japan, he reassured Abe that the U.S. will maintain its presence there.

The U.S. military also serves as the main counterweight to China's increasing aggressiveness in the South China Sea.  Today, Abe said that must continue.

SHINZO ABE (through interpreter):  We need to maintain the freedom of navigation and rule of law.  Such international order there must be maintained.

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