Politics

Trump Meets With Japanese Prime Minister Ahead Of North Korea Summit

President Trump shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Thursday.
President Trump shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Thursday.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 3:02 p.m. ET

At an Oval Office photo op with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday, President Trump said he doesn't "have to prepare much" for the upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he thinks he's "very well prepared," adding "it's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done."

Trump told reporters the upcoming nuclear summit in Singapore is "going to be much more than a photo op." He said "I think it's going to be a very fruitful meeting, I think it's going to be an exciting meeting."

Thursday's White House meeting with Japan's prime minister is an opportunity for Abe to urge the American president not to relax his demands for the complete dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

Japan, along with South Korea, is especially vulnerable to attack by North Korea. Some of Kim's recent missile tests have crossed into Japanese airspace. Abe wants assurances that Trump will address that threat in his talks with Kim, and not simply worry about longer-range missiles that have the capacity to strike the U.S.

Japan also wants Trump to press Kim on the fate of Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by North Korea. Trump promised to do so when he and Abe met in Florida in April.

Although Thursday's meeting will largely focus on the upcoming Singapore summit, trade might have been discussed too. Japan was one of the first U.S. allies to be hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. The Trump administration has since broadened those tariffs to cover other allies including Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, as well as suppliers such as China and Russia. The administration is also weighing a 25 percent tariff on imported cars, which would be a big blow to Japan.

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