President Trump’s first trip to Asia begins with a taste of home
TOKYO – With a round of golf, a custom cap and a hamburger of American beef, President Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia began with a taste of home.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Mr. Trump to Japan Sunday with an effusive display of friendship that, in the days ahead, will give way to high-stakes diplomacy. The two leaders, who shared a casual lunch and played nine holes at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, were joined by professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama.
The low-key agenda was a prelude to the formal talks, a press conference and state dinner planned in Tokyo Monday. Abe will be looking for a united front against North Korea and reassurances that the U.S. will stand by its treaty obligations to defend Japan if attacked.
Eager to forge a bond with Tokyo’s crucial ally, Abe was one of the first world leaders to court President-elect Trump. He was the first to call Mr. Trump after the election, and rushed to New York days later to meet the president-elect and present him with a pricey, gold Honma golf driver. The two men also met on the sidelines of an international summit in Italy. Trump hosted Abe in Florida. White House Reviews Mr. said Trump has spoken with Abe by phone more than any world leader, aside from British Prime Minister Theresa May.
That bond was clear on Sunday.
“The relationship is really extraordinary” We like each other and our countries like each other, “Mr. Trump said Sunday night before dinner with Abe, who for this meal did show. Trump traditional cuisine with a teppanyaki dinner. “And I do not think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.”
Mr. Trump and Abe also exchanged glowing tweets about their golf. Mr. Trump dubbed Abe and Matsuyama “wonderful people,” while Abe called it a “round of golf with a marvelous friend.”
Abe told reporters after the golf session that the two could talk frankly in a relaxed atmosphere while out on the course. He said you were able to “carry out in depth discussion, at times touching on various difficult issues.” A senior White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said the pair had discussed trade and North Korea – but did not keep score.
From the time Marine One landed on the Kasumigaseki Country Club’s driving range, Abe rolled out little touches to make Mr. Trump feel welcome. He presented a hat that had a version of Mr. Trump’s campaign theme, this time reading “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.” The Kobe beef in favor of the American version, which is favored by Trump, a famed picky eater.
When Mr. Trump hosted Abe in Palm Beach Previous trump’s Florida golf courses. For that outing, Mr. Trump brought along pro golfer Ernie Els, so this time Abe matched him by bringing along Matsuyama, whom Mr. Trump described on the plane ride to Asia as “probably the greatest player in the history of Japan.” Abe was behind the wheel of a golf cart as the two men were spotted moving from hole to hole. Trump in the passenger seat smiling and waving at those they passed.
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Japanese professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama looks on, as they play golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan JAPAN’S CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE VIA KYODO VIA REUTERS
“From the point of view of Abe administration, the personal chemistry that exists between the two leaders is seen as an asset,” said Mireya Sollis, chair of Japan Studies for the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She said that the Japanese believe it is already “seeing it pay off,” including when. Trump agreed to meet with the citizens of Korea citizenship kidnapped by the North Korean regime, an important issue for Tokyo.
Ever since Saudi Arabia delivered a lavish welcome on. Trump’s first international trip, has proven susceptible to flattery.
Before the game, Mr. Trump delivered a speech in which he hailed Japan as a “crucial ally” and warned adversaries not to test America’s resolve.
“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo.
Though Mr. Trump did not mention North Korea by name during the speech, the spectre of its weapons program will loom large throughout Mr. Trump’s five-nation Asia trip. The president warned of the consequences of crossing what he called the “most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.”
“Together with our all