US, Japan plan new talks on 'fair and reciprocal' trade deal

Trump reaffirmed his desire at the news conference to address trade imbalances with Japan, saying he preferred one-on-one talks to negotiate a bilateral deal aimed at trimming the USA trade deficit. "I love the world of finance and the world of economics, and probably, it's where I do the best".

And Trump notably did not exempt Japan from steel and aluminum tariffs, as he did for Washington's other allies and partners. Among the points of discussion will be negotiations between the United States and North Korea and the recent visit to North Korea by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Perhaps the most significant for Abe: Trump's promise to raise with Kim the issue of Japanese citizens who have been abducted by the North. The president wrote that he didn't like the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional deal, instead favoring bilateral talks, which Japan prefers. Trump and Abe spent Wednesday morning golfing at one of the president's nearby golf courses.

Abe said at the press conference: "We agreed to start consultations for free, fair and reciprocal trade deals. We're comfortable. We have great relationships, '" the president said, boosting the private club, which collects dues that enrich Trump.

"If we don't think it's going to be successful. we won't have it", Trump said, adding: "If the meeting, when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting".

Pyongyang has acknowledging abducting 13 Japanese, while Tokyo maintains North Korea abducted 17. The leaders have bonded over "golf diplomacy" in both the USA and Japan, and US officials note that Trump has met with Abe more than any other foreign leader. North Korea says eight others have died and denies the remaining four entered its territory.

Teachers respond to Governor Ducey's salary raise proposal
It was a surprising shift in tone from the governor, who has repeatedly rejected teachers' demands for a raise and school funding. On Wednesday, Arizona teachers staged a statewide " walk-in ", demanding an increase in pay and more funding for schools overall.

The visit marked the highest-level contact between the United States and North Korea since 2000.

The U.S. itself is pushing for the release of three Americans. But Wednesday brought public disagreements, as Trump spurned his guest's top economic and trade priorities.

"Just because North Korea is responding to dialogue, there should be no rewards", Abe said.

Abe also vowed to increase efforts to realize the return of the abductees, saying, "If North Korea takes the right path, there could be a possible path to settle the unfortunate past and normalize diplomatic relations based on the Pyongyang Declaration signed between Japan and North Korea".

During a roughly 40-minute joint news conference Wednesday evening, Abe tried to put on a good face, emphasizing their close relationship and their areas of accord on North Korea policy. "'Maximum pressure' should be maintained and actual implementation of concrete actions toward denuclearization will be demanded".

  • Megan Austin