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Japan and China resumed economic dialogue

17 April, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso answers a question during an upper house parliamentary session in Tokyo

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods and withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership - a move he is seeking to reverse in an upcoming summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "So Abe should tell Trump that Japan and the US need to act as one and urge Trump to understand Japan's position on North Korean issues, as well as economic issues". The chances of success may be slim, but Mr. Trump can solve several problems by following his ally's lead.

Kim could propose a deal in which the United States curtails regional military exercises in exchange for a North Korean freeze on its testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Washington and Tokyo have yet to find a way forward on their trade relationship, as President Trump and his advisors continue to focus in on the bilateral trade deficit.

Trump's agreement to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a session expected in late May or early June at a place yet to be determined, has also raised some concerns among Japanese officials.

So one of the main goals of Abe's visit to the United States is to dispel the abovementioned fears, to demonstrate the unity of views on the North Korean issue, and to give impetus to mutual efforts to coordinate actions regarding the North Korean nuclear issue.

Beijing responds with vehemence to the USA hike in tariffs over imports of steel and aluminum.

Kono also said it was possible that Japan would cooperate with China on the Belt and Road initiative on a case by case basis where global standards were met. "And it would reassure Japan and other US trading partners in Asia that the strategic interests of the U.S.in the region are strong enough to overcome Trump's impulses".

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the regional trade deal Trump pulled out of a year ago, would have helped lower those barriers for American farmers.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Equally important, Japan stressed that cooperation with China over the ambitious "One Belt, One Road" policy by political elites in Beijing is more than possible.

However, speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Trump's pick for new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said while the U.S. would continue to defend Japan, the point of the Trump-Kim summit was "to address the nuclear threat to the United States".

Shinzo Abe looked to have weathered the storm over a first scandal on the cut-price sale of government land, with his approval ratings starting to creep back up after dropping to record lows. In the evening, the president and his wife Melania Trump will have dinner with the Japanese prime minister and his wife, Akie.

Since returning to the premiership in 2012, Abe has made security a key plank of his appeal. There are also other foreign policy priorities for Washington.

The second could be harder to attain: a statement from Trump that there will be no relaxation of pressure on North Korea, or any change in the US -led military readiness or exercises, until Pyongyang takes verifiable steps to denuclearize.

As for trade and economic issues, they are not simple for Abe either.

As Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote: "Both will want to spend time away from cameras, trying to resolve their differences and putting a strong statesman-like face on as they struggle through this increasingly fraught era".

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