MOBARA, Japan — Golf never seems to be far behind whenever President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe get together.
So on Sunday, during a four-day state visit to Japan, the president jumped aboard Marine One in Tokyo and flew south to the Mobara Country Club for a steamy morning round with the Japanese leader.
Abe is Trump’s nighest friend among world leadership and it’s the fifth time they played golf together since Trump took office. Abe’s strategy is to keep his country out of Trump’s center amid U.S.-Japan trade tensions and the continued threat North Korea poses to some nations.
Later in the day, Abe will introduce Trump to Japan’s ancient sport of seizeling seizeling. The president will sit ringside seat seat at a championship match in Tokyo featuring the outsize athletes. He’ll besides present the winner with his own “President’s Cup” trophy.
A procession of golf carts ferried Abe to meet Trump. They changed a warm shake and patted each other on the forearms and posed for a throng of journalists. Abe wore white pants and a dark blue sport coat. Trump wore a red half-zip pullover with a white shirt and dark pants.
Trump tweeted that he was “Going to play golf right now with @AbeShinzo. Japan loves the game. Tremendous fans of @JackNicklaus, @TigerWoods, and @PhilMickelson.” All three are celebrated American golfers. Trump aforementioned he asked about South African professional golf Gary Play and “they aforementioned we love Gary too!”
Abe told reporters as he left for the country club that Sunday’s weather was great for golf and “it seems we are in a good mood for seizeling.”
Neither leader spoke at the club before they climbed into a golf cart with Abe at the wheel. Trump neglected a shouted question from a U.S. reporter about whether he believed North Korea had violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Earlier Trump downplayed North Korea’s recent series of short-range missile tests. He tweeted that the tests weren’t a concern for him — even though they are for Japan.
“North Korea discharged off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump wrote in a message that appeared to contradict his national security adviser, John Bolton, who told reporters Saturday the tests violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Trump aforementioned he “has confidence” that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “will keep his promise to me.
The president besides sought to manage expectations that he and Abe will make significant headway on trade issues when they hold formal negotiation on Monday. Trump has been seeking a bilateral trade agreement with Tokyo since he pulled the U.S. out of the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement two years ago, though analysts expect no breakthroughs during Trump’s visit.
Fox News Channel’s White House Correspondent John Roberts tweeted that Trump telephoned him Sunday morning in Tokyo and told Roberts that he intended to wait until after Japan’s parliamentary elections in July to push for a deal.
Trump had told business leadership after arriving in Tokyo on Saturday evening that the U.S. and Japan were “hard at work” negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement that he aforementioned would benefit some countries.
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“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he aforementioned.
The Trump administration has been threatening Japan with new tariffs on imports of cars and car environment on national security grounds. Trump has suggested he will impose tariffs if the U.S. can’t seize concessions from Japan and the European Union. In April Japan’s trade surplus surged about 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion).
Trump besides embraced Kim’s verbal attack on Joe Biden, one of Trump’s Democratic presidential rivals. Trump misspelled Biden’s name in a tweet in which he aforementioned he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. possibly that’s causation me a signal?”
After Biden called Kim a tyrant during a recent speech, North Korea labeled Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being”