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Trump: US-Japan Alliance Foundation for Peace in East Asian Region

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands following their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 10, 2017.

President Donald Trump said Friday the friendship between the U.S. and Japan is "very, very deep" and declared an alliance between the two countries is a cornerstone of peace in the East Asian region.

"We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe said he and Trump have reached agreement on a new framework for economic talks and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will be among the topics of discussions. Trump said any trading relationship between the two countries must be "free, fair and reciprocal."

WATCH: Trump on cooperation with Japan

Japan has been concerned about the impact Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, as well as "America First" strategy, would have on Asia.

Abe expressed hope of developing a joint economic stimulus package that could create thousands of U.S. jobs through private and public investments in infrastructure.

The two leaders began two days of talks at the White House Friday morning that provide them with opportunities to reinforce a long-established security treaty and bolster their economic relationship.

Trump, Abe and their wives will fly to Palm Beach, Florida, Friday afternoon for a weekend stay at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

The two-day summit is the most time Trump has spent with a foreign leader since he became president on January 20. It is Trump's second face-to-face meeting with a key ally after hosting British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington two weeks ago.

President Donald Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 10, 2017.
President Donald Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 10, 2017.

The Trump administration set a positive tone for the weekend summit by saying before Abe's arrival at the White House that Trump is committed to resisting any unilateral declarations that would threaten Japan's authority over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

At the news conference, Trump reaffirmed that commitment, as well as one ensuring safety in the region.

"We will work together to promote our shared interests ... including freedom of navigation and defending against the North Korean missile and nuclear threat, both of which I consider a very, very high priority," he said.

Watch: Trump Reassures Japan About US Commitment to Asia-Pacific

Japan's concerns about Trump's campaign promise to get Japan and other U.S. allies to pay more for their own defense were allayed somewhat by Defense Secretary James Mattis during a visit last week to Japan and South Korea.

Trump's meeting with Japan's prime minister occurs as the new U.S. administration appears to be adopting a more traditional U.S. policy toward Asia that features consolidating alliances and collaboration with China.

Late Thursday, Trump reaffirmed America's long-standing "One China" policy in a telephone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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