Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump meet in Washington today, where discussions will centre on North Korea, whose leader Trump will meet next Tuesday.
While Abe and Trump have developed a strong personal relationship—the Japanese leader was the first to visit the US president in February last year—tensions between the two countries have been on the rise recently. A lack of clarity regarding next week’s North Korea summit has irked Japan.
Regarding North Korea, Tokyo continues to emphasise the need for complete denuclearisation as the goal for negotiations. Abe has also called on the US to pressure Pyongyang into disarming its shorter-range missiles that pose a direct threat to Japan.
The Japanese PM supported Trump’s cancellation of the meeting two weeks ago, as North Korea has yet to denuclearise.
Abe is expected to ask the US to demand of North Korea the disarmament of all missiles capable of striking Japan. Such a requirement would likely cause North Korea to withdraw from talks—an unfavourable outcome for Trump. As such, expect tensions between Tokyo and Washington to rise as the US pushes on with next Tuesday’s summit.
Josh analyses the economic impacts of geopolitical developments in emerging economies. He contributes regularly to The Daily Brief.