Following a meeting with the US President-elect Donald Trump in New York, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his confidence that they would be able to build a “relationship of trust”.
“Alliances cannot function without trust. I am now confident that President-elect Trump is a trustworthy leader,” the Japanese PM is reported to have said by Reuters.
Neither side revealed any details of the discussion during the 90-minute meeting, although speculation was rife about the topics that would be talked about. The meeting was also attended by the president-elect’s daughter Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and General Michael Flynn, who has been offered the post of the national security advisor.
The Japanese PM’s confidence comes in spite of the views Trump expressed during his campaign. He was critical of Japan’s contribution to bilateral security ties between the two countries, and had suggested that both Japan and South Korea ought to pay more toward the upkeep of the U.S. military stationed there.
Trump had also said that he would not support the “disastrous” regional free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership while campaigning. There is a general assumption that Abe tried to persuade the president-elect to not pull out of the 12-nation agreement. Without the USA, the agreement falls apart.
Ahead of the meeting, several Japanese news publications had expressed concern over the status of the TPP. Abe had worked closely with President Obama for the agreement. However, according to The Guardian, the current U.S. administration has admitted that ratification for the pact is not possible before the White House transition takes place.
Shinzo Abe is the first foreign leader to meet with Trump after his election. However, the meeting was described as “unofficial” as Trump has not yet assumed office. Therefore, requests for details of the conversation were declined. Abe was on his way to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Lima, Peru, when it was decided that a detour to New York would be taken to meet the president-elect.