Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he has “great confidence” in US President-elect Donald Trump, and believes the two countries can build a relationship of trust.
“We were able to have a very candid talk over a substantial amount of time. We held it in a very warm atmosphere,” Abe told reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, on Thursday.
The Japanese leader added, “I do believe that without confidence between the two nations the alliance would never function in the future and as the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence.”
Abe declined to provide detailed information on the specifics of the meeting, only saying the pair reached an agreement to meet once again and exchange viewpoints on a wider array of issues.
The president of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party is the first head of state to hold a face-to-face meeting with Trump.
During his election campaign, Trump expressed strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact. He vowed to scrap the 12-nation trade deal, saying its enactment would be “catastrophic.”
The TTP, backed by outgoing US President Barack Obama, is currently in the final stages of discussion at Japan’s parliament to get the necessary ratification and enter into force.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the Chinese government is advancing a much larger trade agreement than the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The trade deal, called the Free Trade Area of Asia Pacific (FTAAP), would involve 21 countries, and its proceeds are estimated to be eight times that of the TPP – close to two trillion dollars or roughly 2% of world gross domestic product in 2025, according to a report published by The Guardian on Thursday.