Trump’s Trick to Please Japan’s Abe without Giving Him AnythingPosted: February 17, 2017
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Trump twice trying hard to persuade Trump to keep Obama’s policies to contain China by his pivot to Asia including deployment of 60% of US military in Asia and the establishment of TPP. Trump, however, gave Chinese President Xi Jinping a phone call hours before meeting Abe and has thus greatly improved US-China ties.
Abe was very much disappointed and was worrying that his visit would be regarded as a failure at home. Trump did not want to upset Abe so that he showed grand hospitality to Abe without giving him anything. On the contrary, he wants to get concessions from Japan in US trade with Japan to get what he can from TPP without giving Japan the concessions Obama made to Japan in order to make TPP acceptable to Japan. However, as Japan is US most important ally in Asia, Trump was trying hard to please Japan but had no real chance to do that satisfactorily.
Luckily, North Korea came out to help them. It unexpectedly conducted a missile test when Trump was treating Abe with a dinner.
Trump takes the opportunity to show how strongly he supports Japan in opposing North Korea by dealing with the emergency in the open. Abe was greatly satisfied, but in fact he has got nothing as Trump only showed what the US has always promised.
In Japan however, people are quite satisfied with the results of Abe’s visit. New York Times says in its report “Relief in Japan After Shinzo Abe’s Visit With Trump”, “Before the visit last week, some in the Japanese news media had gibed Mr. Abe for his apparent eagerness to foster a friendship with Mr. Trump, and some joked that the American president would take advantage of the Japanese leader during their bout of golf diplomacy at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. But in a Kyodo News poll taken after the meeting, 70 percent of the Japanese public said they were satisfied with the talks between the two leaders, and Mr. Abe’s approval ratings rose slightly from a month earlier to close to 62 percent.
In the US, those who did not understand Trump’s trick or did understand but wanted to use Trump’s move to attack him made hue and cry about Trump breaking national security norms in tackling the crisis. CNN is one of the lots of media that attacked Trump for that. It did so in its report “At Mar-a-Lago, Trump tackles crisis diplomacy at close range”.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN and New York Times’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/12/politics/trump-shinzo-abe-mar-a-lago-north-korea/ and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/world/asia/trump-japan-shinzo-abe.html?_r=2