Abe to meet Trump amid challenges at home and overseas

Abe to meet Trump amid challenges at home and overseas

US President Donald Trump has expressed eagerness to reduce the trade deficit with Japan ahead of a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Throughout Kim's push to develop a credible threat to the United States beyond its Pacific outposts and USA troops based in Japan and South Korea, Abe has faithfully stuck to the White House line on Pyongyang's nuclear program: that unconditional talks are pointless, and that economic pressure must be backed by the threat of military action.

During the talks, Abe will want to make sure Trump doesn't cut a deal with North Korea that leaves Japan exposed to shorter-range missiles that do not necessarily threaten the U.S. He also is expected to ask the U.S. leader to raise with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

Earlier Monday, Japan and China held what was billed as the fourth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue, the first such meeting since August 2010.

Japan wants Trump to avoid a deal in which Pyongyang gives up ballistic missiles that can hit the USA mainland but keeps shorter-range missiles that threaten Japan.

On the economic front, the Japanese prime minister is planning to impress upon the US president the significance of multilateral free trade as Trump has pushed for bilateral trade agreements.

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Japanese officials said Abe and Trump might also discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after Trump indicated last week that the US might be interested in rejoining what is now an 11-country trade agreement.

Following Washington's withdrawal, the remaining 11 members, led by Japan, succeeded in signing a revised version in March. "He will certainly want to know what additional thoughts Prime Minister Abe has beyond what he has already shared".

Experts say the outcome of their summit could boost or further undermine Abe's leadership at home. Abe's expected to push Trump to keep a hard-line stance on Pyongyang during those talks.

Abe will likely try to get Trump to reverse his decision to include Japan in new steel and aluminum tariffs.

The two leaders are also likely to exchange views on the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including China's increasing maritime assertiveness in the South China Sea, as well as recent US -led airstrikes on Syria, among other topics.

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