Tokyo fears Trump could link security with trade at summit with Abe

  • Monday 16, April 2018 in 10:05 AM
  • Archived
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could find his oft-touted close ties with Donald Trump sorely tested at a summit this week in which Tokyo fears the U.S. leader will to try to link vital security matters with touchy trade topics.

It is a fraught time for both sides, and comes as Trump prepares to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose government has been openly antagonistic toward Japan.

Abe is struggling with declining popularity because of suspected cronyism scandals. Trump, whose White House is grappling with scandals and investigations of its own, may be hunting for a political win ahead of November midterm congressional elections.

Japan wants Trump to avoid a deal in which Pyongyang gives up ballistic missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland but keeps shorter-range missiles that threaten Japan. Abe also wants Trump to bring up Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang long ago.

At the summit with Trump on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tokyo is equally eager to avoid being pushed into talks on a two-way free trade agreement aimed not only at market access but at monetary and currency policies.