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US and Japan press for trade deal after a failed Pacific partnership



Mr. Trump plunged into a risky nuclear deal with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, though Abe had warned him to keep a hard line with Pyongyang. Tokyo officials fear that a nuclear deal could hurt Japan if Mr Kim agrees to give up his ICBMs capable of reaching the United States without giving up his interim and short-range missiles that can hit Japan.

In this regard, the impasse between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim in Hanoi in February was positive news. The Japanese officials were encouraged that Mr Trump refused Mr. Kim's request in return for lifting the sanctions against North Korea for closing an aging nuclear facility in Yongbyon. As long as Mr. Trump rejects such claims, analysts will say he and Mr. Abe are on the same page.

What could be more difficult for Mr. Abe persuades Mr. Trump to stay in the short term, a visible presence at international meetings, such as the summit of the Group of 20 scheduled for June in the Japanese city of Osaka and the meeting of the Group of 7 to be held in August in France, and the East Asia Summit in Thailand. Japan, which has taken over the G-20 presidency for the first time this year, considers the gatherings a crucial way to exercise diplomatic influence.

Mr. Trump will visit Tokyo to meet the new Emperor Naruhito in May just one month before the summit in Osaka. His recent meeting with the Group 7 in Canada was a clash with other Western leaders. And he sent Vice President Mike Pence in his place at last year's East Asia Summit in Singapore.

"The Japanese are fortunate enough to bring Trump to one of three points," said Michael J. Green, who holds the Japan Chair of Strategic and International Studies. "They really need him to support the international institutions that underpin Japan's own diplomatic position."

In trade, both sides seem to focus on a limited deal that would give American farmers and ranchers better access to the Japanese market. Mr Trump would be a political victory ahead of the presidential elections of 2020. The countries could then return later and a more comprehensive trade agreement for provide for manufacturing and services.

Mr. Trump said on Friday that a deal could be in the final stages if he goes to Japan.


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