Japan PM Shinzo Abe heads for New York for 1st talks with Donald Trump

Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 09:05 IST | Agencies |

Seeking to build a ‘relationship of trust’ with the President-elect, Japan’s premier says he would like to discuss ‘our dreams for the future’ with him

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to reporters prior to boarding a government plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, headed to New York. Pic/AFP
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to reporters prior to boarding a government plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, headed to New York. Pic/AFP

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left for New York yesterday for talks with Donald Trump, the first leader to meet with the President-elect whose campaign pledges provoked anxiety over US foreign policy.

The brash billionaire is set to receive Abe at his Trump Tower headquarters, in an encounter that will be closely watched for hints on long-standing security pacts that he has called into question.

“I’m honoured to meet with President-elect Trump ahead of other world leaders,” Abe told reporters. “I’d like to discuss with him our dreams for the future.”

Trump’s blithe comment during the campaign that the US might be “better off” with nuclear-armed Asian allies has thrown into question the US security umbrella over Japan and South Korea.

The US-Japan alliance “is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy and security. Only when there is trust does an alliance come alive,” Abe told reporters before leaving Tokyo, Kyodo news agency reported.

However, details about the meeting remain unclear, with Trump’s transition team not responding to requests for comment on the meeting.

An adviser to Trump said earlier this week that Trump would seek to reassure Abe and other Asian allies rattled by his campaign rhetoric.

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