Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting the U.S. for four days starting Tuesday, where he will hold a two-day summit with President Trump on North Korea, bilateral trade and more.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday that the summit will be centered primarily on preparation for talks with North Korea as well as economic issues.
Like Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono in his talks with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts recently, Abe is expected to press President Trump to bring up the topic of Japanese abductees in North Korea when he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
And while Sanders did not specify if "trade" includes talks on rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement between eleven Pacific-rim countries, there's speculation Abe will try to persuade Trump to follow through on his recent comments about rejoining, if the conditions are right for the U.S.
Abe is also expected to urge Trump to exempt Japan from Washington's plan to impose hefty tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
The meeting provides Abe an important opportunity as he's in dire need of a policy win as he faces challenges abroad and protests at home.
Having maintained a hardline stance on Pyongyang, Japan was caught on the back foot with the upcoming North Korean summits and the rapid diplomatic developments on the Korean peninsula.
Japan has since been making efforts not to be left out of the negotiations.
Abe is also reeling from a cronyism scandal that has caused his approval rating to plunge to historic lows.
Abe be will be staying at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort for the second time, holding summit talks on Tuesday and Wednesday and playing at least one round of golf with the U.S. leader.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.