Abe says Trump backs his pursuit of 1st summit with Kim Jong Un

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Mon, 27 May 2019 - 12:46 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump pose for a photograph before attending dinner at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm

FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump pose for a photograph before attending dinner at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm

TOKYO, May 27 (MENA) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he has won the support of U.S. President Donald Trump over his pursuit of a first-ever summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while noting that no date has been set for the meeting, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo.

Speaking at a joint press conference after their summit in Tokyo, Abe also said Japan and the United States are "completely" on the same page in handling North Korea, although the two countries responded differently over Pyongyang's firing of short-range missiles earlier in the month.

Trump said he did not view the missile launches as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, adding, "All I know is there've been no nuclear tests, there've been no ballistic missiles going out, there've been no long-range missiles going out."

He also said he is in "no rush" to strike a deal with North Korea over its denuclearization, with "tremendous sanctions" remaining on the country.

On the economic front, the two leaders agreed to accelerate bilateral trade negotiations, which began in April, to achieve a win-win relationship, according to Abe.

The United States is seeking greater access to the Japanese market for products such as beef, pork and wheat, as American farmers have become less competitive following the activation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement including Australia and New Zealand.

Japan has meanwhile pushed for the removal of tariffs on industrial products including automobiles, one of its biggest exports, as had been agreed before the United States withdrew from the TPP.

Japan has agreed to buy 105 F-35 stealth planes from the US, US President Donald Trump said during the press conference.

Trump said Japan was one of the biggest purchasers of American defense equipment last year.

"(They're) stealth because the fact is you can't see them," he added.

US President Donald Trump promised to bring home abducted Japanese citizens from North Korea, while meeting with relatives of some of the abductees in Tokyo.

The US leader met with the families of Japanese abductees after lunching with Shinzo Abe, telling them that he'll work with the Japanese Prime Minister to bring their loved ones home.

"We will be working together to bring your relatives home," Trump told the families.

"He loves this country, he loves you," he said of Abe.

Trump said their stories were "very sad" and noted that he was hearing some of their accounts for the second time. "I can see why your great Prime Minister feels so strongly about it," he said.

"I can also tell you for certain that it is the Prime Minister's primary goal," Trump said, adding that Abe has discussed the topic at every meeting they have had.

According to a 2014 report by the United Nations Human Rights Council, hundreds of South Koreans, Japanese and other foreign nationals were kidnapped by North Korea at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Tokyo's Foreign Ministry regards the abductions as "a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens" -- and one that precludes any normalization of relations with Pyongyang until it is resolved.

Some of the family members held framed pictures of their relatives in their lap Monday as they thanked President Trump for taking an interest in the issue.

US President Donald Trump made his most definitive statement to date that he's not looking to oust Iran's clerical leadership, instead insisting the country could have a bright future with its current leaders.

"We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear," Trump said during the news conference in Tokyo. "We’re looking for no nuclear weapons."

Trump's Iran policy came under scrutiny after he deployed US troops to the Middle East in an attempt to dissuade provocative behavior by Tehran.

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