TOKYO (Reuters) – 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.
Trump is on a four-day state visit to Japan meant to showcase the alliance between the two allies, but which has also been shadowed by trade tensions.
Trump, at a news conference with Abe after a summit, said his goal was to remove trade barriers to put U.S. exports on an equal footing in Japan. He said he hoped to have more to announce on trade very soon and said the two had agreed to expand cooperation in human space exploration.
Abe, for his part, said the two leaders had agreed to accelerate two-way trade talks.
Trump earlier explicitly linked trade and security, a connection that disturbs Japan, which puts its U.S. alliance at the core of its defense policies.
“It’s all a balance sheet thing,” Trump said at the beginning of his talks with Abe.
“When I talk about a security threat, I talk about a balance sheet,” he said, adding that Japan had bought “tremendous amounts” of U.S. military gear.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he expected big moves on trade would wait until after Japan’s upper house election in July.