President-elect Trump to meet Japan’s Prime Minister Abe

by WorldTribune Staff, November 17, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump was scheduled to hold an “informal” meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York on Nov. 17.

Kellyanne Conway, a current member of Trump’s transition team, said the nature of the meeting would be “informal” since President Barack Obama is still in the White House.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured second left) and his wife Akie wave to well-wishers prior to boarding a plane at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on November 17. /AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie wave to well-wishers prior to boarding a plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 17. /AFP

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“We’re sensitive to the fact that these early meetings with heads of state occur within that construct,” Conway said on “CBS This Morning.”

“President Obama’s on his last foreign trip in that capacity, so I think any deeper conversations about policy, the relationship between Japan and the United States will have to wait until after the inauguration,” Conway said.

The prime minister talked to Trump for 20 minutes on the phone hours after the Nov. 8 election result became clear. Both agreed to meet in person in New York City on Nov. 17 “if possible.”

Abe congratulated Trump on his convincing victory and delivered the message that America will be made even greater under the Trump administration. For his part, Trump expressed his appreciation for Abe’s economic policies collectively known as Abenomics.

During the first presidential debate, Trump included Japan in a list of U.S. allies that he suggested could be footing more of the bill for the partnership.

“We defend Japan. We defend Germany. We defend South Korea. We defend Saudi Arabia. We defend countries,” he said. “They do not pay us what they should be paying us because we are providing tremendous service and we’re losing a fortune.”

In September, Abe met with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but not Trump, when the prime minister was in New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.