Trump joked about Japan’s “substantial advantage” in the trade and told a group of businessmen, “Maybe that’s why you love him so much.”

Trump opens state visit to Japan with comments on the trade imbalance.

TOKYO (AP) – President Donald Trump inaugurated Saturday a state visit to Japan, attacking the country because of its trade imbalance with the United States. “Maybe that’s why you loved me so much,” he said.

Trump also promoted the United States under his leadership, saying “there has never been a better time” to invest or do business in the US, and urged business leaders to run.

The first event of the president after his arrival in Tokyo was a reception with several dozen Japanese and American business leaders at the residence of the US ambassador. He said the two countries “are working hard” in negotiating a trade deal.

 

“I would say that Japan has a substantial advantage for many, many years, but it’s good,” said Trump jokingly, “maybe that’s why you love me so much.”

 

His comments underscored the competitive dynamics of a state visit to highlight the long-standing alliance between the United States. UU And Japan and the close friendship between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, even as trade tensions intensify.

 

Trump landed after his night flight shortly after the magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit south of Tokyo and rocked the city.

 

Abe has planned a four-day ceremonial visit to satisfy Trump’s quirks and ego. Some analysts say it’s part of Abe’s charm strategy that has saved Japan the weight of Trump’s commercial anger.

 

Abe and Trump had planned to play golf on Sunday before giving Trump the opportunity to present his “President’s Cup” trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling match. The White House said the trophy was nearly 1.5 meters tall and weighed between 27 and 32 kilograms.

 

On Monday, Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito since his accession to the throne this month.

 

“With all the countries of the world, I am the guest of honor for the greatest event of all time for more than 200 years,” said Trump before the trip.

The president is threatening Japan with potentially devastating US tariffs on foreign cars and spare parts. He suggested he maintain trade sanctions if US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer does not obtain concessions from Japan and the European Union.

 

Trump had predicted that a trade deal between the United States and Japan could be finalized during his trip. But this is unlikely since both parties are still solving the parameters of what they will negotiate.

 

However, he described the negotiations in a positive light in his comments to the group of companies.

“With this agreement, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to US exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relations, and we are getting closer,” said Trump, who also urged leaders to invest more in the United States.

 

He praised the “very special” alliance between the United States and Japan, which said “it has never been so strong, it has never been so powerful, it has never been so close”.

 

Prior to his November 2016 election, Abe made a strategic decision to focus on Japan-US relations.

Abe rushed to New York two weeks after the elections to meet with the elected president at the Trump Tower. Last month, Abe and his wife Akie celebrated the birthday of First Lady Melania Trump during a dinner at the White House.

 

Abe and Trump are expected to meet for the third time in three months, when Trump will return to Japan at the end of June for a summit bringing together the largest rich and developing countries.

 

Behind the smiles and personal friendship, however, Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts for reasons of national security is a matter of serious concern. Such a measure would be more devastating for the Japanese economy than previous tariffs on steel and aluminum.

 

Trump recently agreed to a six-month deadline, which gave him enough time to pass the Japanese parliamentary elections in July.

 

The persistent threat of North Korea, which has resumed missile testing and recently launched a series of short-range missiles, has also been addressed by US authorities. UU., Including Trump, tried to stop despite the North’s agreement to no longer perform tests. .

 

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters Saturday before Trump’s arrival that short-range missile testing violates United Nations Security Council resolutions and that sanctions should be upheld. .

Bolton said that Trump and Abe “would discuss the need to ensure the integrity of Security Council resolutions.”

This marked a change of tone in the opinion expressed by the US Secretary of State. UU., Mike Pompeo, in a recent television interview. He said “the moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, which are threatening the United States.” This sounded the alarm in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat.

 

Bolton said a day later that the official North Korean media said the nuclear talks with Washington would only resume if the United States abandoned what the North called unilateral disarmament demands.

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