Trump-Abe bonding and bonhomie: US-Japan alliance to grow stronger

Talks at the White House, dinner at a private club and a round of golf — US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed how serious diplomacy and weekend fun could blend to strike a personal chemistry between them and herald a new chapter in ties between the world’s sole super power and its major ally in Asia.
Appearing at a joint media conference with Mr Abe after the talks, Mr Trump underlined the US’ commitment to defend Japan in the face of China’s massive maritime build-up and North Korea nuclear missile programme. This categorical assistance appears to have put behind Mr Trump’s strident election campaign rhetoric last year that suggested Tokyo pay more for enjoying the American security umbrella.
“We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance,” the US president said. “The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer,” he added.
Mr Abe’s Washington mission proved to be successful as he got Mr Trump’s assurance in clear terms that the US would continue to back Japan in its dispute with China over territorial claims in some islands in the East China Sea that China also claims. The joint statement said the two leaders affirmed that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty covered the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, as is evident from Mr Trump’s reference to the areas under Japan’s administrative control.
The Trump-Abe meeting was closely scanned in Beijing, which sees the US-Japan alliance as posing a formidable obstacle to its regional ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region.

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