Abe's Trump invite to Florida shows significance of bilateral ties: Spicer

President Trump is planning to play a round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida this week.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on February 7, "It's extremely important (for the prime minister) to build a personal relationship of trust (with the president)", justifying Abe's golf diplomacy.

Hiroshi Ogushi, the policy research committee chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, said that while golfing is fine for building personal relationships, he worries about the "kind of message" Abe's golfing with Trump would send to the world.

Trump, who is due to welcome Abe at the White House on Friday, told Westwood One Sports Radio that playing golf was a better way to get to know someone than having lunch.

China's foreign minister, seeking to diminish tension with the United States after Trump's election, says there would be no victor in a conflict between the two nations.

"If we get along with Russian Federation and other countries - I mean, I want to get along with all countries - but if we got along with Russian Federation, if we got along with China, if we got along with Japan ... that's a good thing, not a bad thing". Japanese officials are optimistic the invitation to visit Trump's "Winter White House", an exclusive club he owns in Palm Beach, signals a more positive outcome.

When asked by Gray whether Abe was a good golfer, Trump replied, "I don't know".

Abe is reported to be coming to woo the President, apparently saying he will create 700,000 USA jobs through Japanese investment American infrastructure.

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Abe said last week that he would tell the president that Japanese companies "have contributed to improving the competitiveness and productivity of USA manufacturing industries". "If the United States grows, without a doubt that benefits Japan".

Some experts cautioned that too subservient a response by Abe, such as a government-inspired jobs creation package, risks confirming Trump's view that old-style Japan bashing works.

Japan's trade surplus with the US fell 4.6 percent in 2016, to about $60.2 billion.

China's state media is saying that Trump's order temporarily banning visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries shows that his administration does not understand its counterterrorism duties.

To stop China's aggressive maritime expansion in the East and South China seas, it is essential to keep the Japan-U.S. alliance solid and strong.

Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agree in an overnight phone call to act jointly against Islamic State in the Syrian towns of al-Bab and Raqqa, Turkish sources say.

If the weak yen does come up, Abe is prepared to defend Japan's monetary policy as a means to break free of deflation.

  • Regina Walsh