Before meeting Kim Trump hosts Japanese President

NC Network

US President Donald Trump plays host to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday before meeting the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Abe have decided to hold a joint press conference at the White House in the early afternoon, before heading to Canada for what promises to be a tense Group of Seven summit clouded by the US leader's aggressive trade policies. 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. 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 and therefore he came to Washington, to see Trump for the second time in less than two months.

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.

Abe clearly outlined what would need to happen for the June 12 summit in Singapore to be a success: tangible progress on curbing the North's nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, as well as answers about Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.

The US president promised Abe to raise the politically sensitive abductions issue in any talks with Pyongyang in their last meeting which held in the month of April.

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.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. A former senior diplomat during the administration of George W. Bush, Richard Armitage says, Tokyo runs a very real risk of finding itself out in the cold after the Trump-Kim talks.

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.

Beside  North Korea, Trump and abe would also discuss the thorny issue of tariffs, which Washington says were put in place to protect American workers.

Before heading to Washington Abe said, "I will stress that measures to restrict trade would not serve the interests of any country." 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.

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