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Trump, Abe agree to intensify talks on trade deals, differences remain

20 April 2018

But Trump made clear he has little interest in rejoining negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership unless there is "a deal I can't refuse. I think it's better for our country, I think it's better for our workers, and I much would prefer a bilateral deal, a deal directly with Japan". Most other key US allies - among them Australia, Canada, the European Union and Mexico - have already been granted exemptions to Trump's protectionist measures.

CGTN's Asieh Namdar spoke with Myung-koo Kang, a professor of political science at Baruch College, about the significance of CIA Director Mike Pompeo's visit to the DPRK, the upcoming inter-Korean summit, and the expected meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

At Wednesday's news conference, Abe praised Trump for his support on the issue of the abductions by North Korean agents of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and '80s. "But we will be able to work things out", he said.

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Abe said at the press conference: "We agreed to start consultations for free, fair and reciprocal trade deals".

Trump confirmed the meeting in a tweet Wednesday, saying "a good relationship was formed" heading into his anticipated summit with Kim.

Speaking through a translator during one of their meetings, Abe said that he and Trump had had "very in-depth discussions" on both North Korea and economic issues and that "on those two points" they had "successfully forged a mutual understanding".

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Trump, who was hosting Abe and his wife at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, said a campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear weapons. But Wednesday brought public disagreements, as Trump spurned his guest's top economic and trade priorities.

It is not the first time the leaders have enjoyed eating burgers together; pictures taken during Trump's visit to Japan last fall showing Abe and Trump chowing down what is widely reported to be one of the president's favorite foods. North Korea says eight others have died and denies the remaining four entered its territory.

The U.S. itself is pushing for the release of three Americans.

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"Just because North Korea is responding to dialogue, there should be no rewards", Abe said.

The Trump-Abe summit began hours after reports that North and South Korea are negotiating a statement to formally end the war that began in 1950.

Abe also vowed to increase efforts to realize the return of the abductees, saying, "If North Korea takes the right path, there could be a possible path to settle the unfortunate past and normalize diplomatic relations based on the Pyongyang Declaration signed between Japan and North Korea".

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Trump, Abe agree to intensify talks on trade deals, differences remain