Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in New York Thursday to meet with President-elect Donald Trump -- and top issues on the agenda will include the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) as well as the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
The meeting, which will take place at Trump Tower, is Mr. Trump’s first in-person meeting with a foreign leader since he was elected the country’s 45th president. He has spoken by phone with many other world leaders, and met with several -- including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- during the campaign.
Abe will likely focus on obtaining reassurances from Mr. Trump that the U.S. will not alter the terms of its alliance with the East Asian country. During the campaign, Mr. Trump suggested that he would demand that countries like Japan and South Korea should pay more to have U.S. troops based in their countries or risk losing them. Both countries already contribute a significant amount toward the U.S. bases there.
On the TPP deal, Abe may try to convince Mr. Trump to reconsider it, though it seems unlikely that he will alter his position on trade deals after opposing them so vocally on the campaign trail.
CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reports that Mr. Trump did not ask for or receive any background information or briefing on U.S.-Asia policy to prepare for the meeting with Abe. Mr. Trump has a security clearance and could have asked for a classified briefing; most of his staff, who do not have security clearances, could have received a nonclassified policy briefing on Japan.
However, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told “CBS This Morning” Thursday said Thursday’s meeting is an informal one, given that Mr. Obama is still president.
“I think any deeper conversations about policy and the relationship between Japan and the United States will have to wait until after the inauguration,” Conway said when asked whether Mr. Trump and Abe would discuss the president-elect’s campaign trail promises to make Japan pay for its own defense.
“Maybe they’ll discuss that today,” she added, but she went on to say that it would be a “much more informal meeting than all of that since we have a current president and commander-in-chief.”
Abe is making the unscheduled stop on his way to Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima this weekend. President Obama, who is currently in Germany, will also attend the summit.