Written by Kumudu Jayawardana
07 Nov, 2017 | 10:39 am
Visiting U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands after their joint news conference at a state guest house in Tokyo’s Moto-Akasaka district on Nov. 6. (Takeshi Iwashita)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Nov. 6 that Japan will freeze the assets of 35 North Korean organizations and individuals in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs and the abduction of Japanese citizens.
Abe announced the additional sanctions in a joint news conference with visiting U.S. President Donald Trump, which was held after their summit in Tokyo.
“Now is not the time for dialogue. It is time to apply the maximum pressure on North Korea. I completely agreed (with Trump) that Japan and the United States will intensify pressure to the highest level through every means in close cooperation with the international society to make Pyongyang change its policies,” Abe said.
“(I confirmed with Trump again that) it is important for China to play a bigger role,” he added.
Trump also said in the news conference that the “era of strategic patience” was over.
Referring to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs and abduction issues, Trump said that the United States will band together with the Japanese people and stand against North Korea’s evil threats.
The president also talked about his nation’s trade deficits with Japan.
“The United States is committed to improving our economic relationship. (I want) a free, fair and reciprocal trading relationship,” Trump said.
He added that Washington has to rectify the chronic trade imbalance and decrease trade deficits with Japan.
Abe and Trump held their summit in a state guest house in Tokyo’s Moto-Akasaka district after eating lunch there together. After the meeting, Trump met with family members of Japanese who were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and the 1980s.
In the morning of Nov. 6, Trump gave a speech in front of Japanese and U.S. company representatives in the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Japan.
In his remarks, the president emphasized that U.S. trade with Japan is not fair and that Japanese markets are not open to U.S. products.
Trump showed his willingness to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, saying that both countries would be able to negotiate a fair trade agreement in a quick and friendly manner.
After taking office, Trump announced that the United States would leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade arrangement. As for the TPP, Trump said that he did not think that it is a good agreement. He also said that it will be proved in the end that he was correct.
For the United States, its trade deficits with Japan are the second largest following those with China. To address the deficit, the Trump administration is demanding that Japan open its markets more in the areas of agricultural products and automobiles.
Meanwhile, Japan is playing a leading role in the continuing TPP negotiations that place importance on a multilateral framework.
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