U.S. President Donald Trump pressed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to even out a trade imbalance with the United States and said he was happy with how things were going with North Korea despite its recent missile and rocket launches.
Trump told a news conference with Abe after their summit that he wanted U.S. exports to be put on a fair footing in Japan through the removal of trade barriers. He said he hoped to have more to announce on trade very soon and said he and Abe had agreed to expand cooperation in human space exploration.
“We have an unbelievably large imbalance, as you know, trade imbalance with Japan for many, many years, Japan having the big advantage,” Trump said.
“They are brilliant business people, brilliant negotiators, and put us in a very tough spot. But I think we will have a deal with Japan,” he added.
Abe, for his part, said the two leaders had agreed to accelerate trade talks but dodged a question about timing.
Trump, who is on a four-day state visit to Japan meant to showcase the Japan-U.S. alliance, said on Twitter on Sunday that he expected big moves on trade would wait until after Japan’s upper house election in July.
“Trade-wise, I think we’ll be announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries,” Trump said on Monday at the start of the talks. “We’ll get the balance of trade, I think, straightened out rapidly.”
Later, there was a short talk about North Korea and about trade war:
Trump told the news conference that Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing but he expected one in the future.
“I believe that we will have a very good deal with China sometime in the future. Because I don’t believe that China can continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs,” he said.
“You know businesses are leaving China, by the hundreds, by the thousands, and going into areas that are not tariffed.”
Trump and Abe also have disagreements over North Korea.
Trump expressed optimism over prospects that North Korea would give up its nuclear program, and repeated that he was not bothered by recent missile tests, which he indicated he did not believe flouted United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently – I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. Perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests, no ballistic missiles going out, no long-range missiles going out. And I think that someday we’ll have a deal,” Trump said.
“I’m not in a rush,” he added.