Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting the White House on Thursday to impress upon President Donald Trump Japan’s interests ahead of Trump’s historic summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The U.S. and Japanese leaders are scheduled to hold about two hours of talks and a joint press conference.
Before departing for Washington, Abe said his government wants to see progress on limiting North Korea’s nuclear program and ballistic missile work, and he wants Trump to discuss with Kim the issue of Japanese nationals who were kidnapped by North Korea during the 1970s and 1980s.
Other powers in the region have had more of a voice in the upcoming Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. The leaders of China and South Korea have met with Kim twice in addition to consultations with the Trump administration. Abe has signaled he is open to talks with Kim, but only if doing so would help resolve the abduction issue.
Ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, the leaders of China and South Korea have met with Kim twice, and while Abe has signaled he is open to such talks, none have yet taken place.
Abe is also likely to discuss Trump’s recent decision to apply steel and aluminum tariffs meant to protect American workers. U.S. allies, including Japan, have objected to the measures and sought waivers.
Abe said such trade restrictions are not useful.
Trade is likely to be a key topic when Trump and Abe join leaders for a G-7 summit this week in Canada.