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Abe deems Trump ‘can be trusted’ / Informal N.Y. meeting held with future U.S. leader

Courtesy of Cabinet Public Relations Office

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump before their meeting on Thursday in New York, as Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, look on.

By Hiroshi Tajima / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterNEW YORK — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump held a meeting in New York on Thursday evening.

It is believed that Abe emphasized during the meeting the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance and free trade mechanisms, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

After the meeting with Trump, Abe told reporters, “It gave me confidence that the two of us can build a relationship of trust.”

Abe and Trump agreed to meet again.

It was Trump’s first meeting with a foreign leader since winning the U.S. presidential election. It is extremely rare for a Japanese prime minister to meet with a U.S. president-elect.

The talks were held in Trump’s residence within Trump Tower in Manhattan. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, longer than the initially scheduled 45 minutes. Abe had only his interpreter present.

Trump had the following people present: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who is seen as likely to take the national security adviser’s post; Ivanka, Trump’s eldest daughter; and Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband.

Abe had intended to focus on building a personal relationship of trust, emphasizing the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance in talks with Trump. After the meeting, Abe stressed before reporters, “I believe we were able to truly talk at length and extensively in a frank and candid manner.”

Abe refrained from unveiling details of the talks, saying: “[Trump] has not yet been officially inaugurated as president, and furthermore, this was an informal meeting.”

However, Abe said, “I shared my basic views ... and we discussed a variety of issues.”

During the presidential election campaign, Trump argued for withdrawing from the TPP and demanding Japan shoulder more of the costs of stationing U.S. forces in the nation.

Abe indicated he obtained a certain amount of understanding from Trump on the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, saying: “Our alliance will not function without trust. I came away convinced that President-elect Trump is a leader who can be trusted.”

Abe also said, “We agreed to meet again at a mutually convenient time to have a broader and more in-depth discussion.”

After the talks, Abe gave a golf driver to Trump as a gift, while Trump gave a golf outfit to Abe.

Abe was set to leave for Peru on Friday morning to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. He is expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

Trump cites ‘friendship’

After the meeting with Abe, Trump posted a message on Facebook that read, “It was a pleasure to have Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stop by my home and begin a great friendship.” A photo of a smiling Trump standing side by side with Abe was attached.Speech

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