Trump vows support to Japan against North Korea
At a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump denounced North Korea as “a threat to the civilized world,” and exhorted dictator Kim Jong Un to cease weapons testing like the missiles he has fired over Japanese territory in recent weeks.
Though he stood in one of the Asia capitals in range of North Korea’s missiles, Trump did not modulate his fiery language, declaring that Pyongyang imperiled “international peace and stability.”
“Some people say my rhetoric is very strong but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years,” Trump was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
Trump said that Japan would shoot North Korean missiles “out of the sky” if it bought the U.S. weaponry needed for doing so.
Trump repeated his mantra the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over, and said the two countries were working to counter the “dangerous aggressions”.
Trump also pressed Japan to lower its trade deficit with the United States and buy more U.S. military hardware.
“He (Abe) will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States,” Trump said, referring to the North Korean missiles, Reuters has reported.
“The prime minister is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should. And we make the best military equipment by far.”
Abe, for his part, said Tokyo would shoot down missiles “if necessary”.
Trump also said he was committed to achieving “free, fair, and reciprocal” trade and wants to work with Japan on this issue.
“America is also committed to improving our economic relationship with Japan,” Trump said. “As president, I’m committed to achieving fair, free, and reciprocal trading relationship. We seek equal and reliable access for American exports to Japan’s markets in order to eliminate our chronic trade imbalances and deficits with Japan.”
Trump and Abe have struck a strong friendship, forged in meetings, phone calls and on the golf course - a friendship that was on display at an evening banquet that was the final event of Trump’s visit. In a toast, Trump told the story of how, after he won the election last November, he was bombarded by phone calls from world leaders offering congratulations. Trump said he’d returned just a few - including one from Abe - who said he wanted to meet with Trump as soon as possible. Trump responded: anytime.
Trump, as he told it, wasn’t aware of the protocol against president-elects meeting with world leaders. By the time Trump called Abe to wave him off, however, Trump said Abe was already on the plane to New York. “So I saw him and it worked out just fine,” Trump recalled, saying, from that moment on, they’d been close.
Abe also called Trump his “dear friend” and hailed the benefits of what he called “golf diplomacy.”
The U.S. president is on the second day of a 12-day Asian trip that is focusing on North Korea’s nuclear missile programmes and trade.
The U.S. leader, who will visit South Korea on the trip, has rattled some allies with his vow to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatens the United States and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.