On his way to Singapore and Papua New Guinea, US Vice-president Mike Pence will visit Tokyo for meetings with PM Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga next week. Pence will arrive on Monday and meet PM Abe on Tuesday with the North Korean issue at the top of the agenda – an issue that Japan has struggled with for decades.
This US – Japan initiative works well as in the past, the US spoke on Japan’s behalf. However, we at Classiarius believe that Japan and the US are now on more equal footing, and the result will be joint efforts on a wide range of challenges that face Japan in the region. Note that there have been joint Naval exercises between Japan and the US, likely another key security issue that the US VP and PM Abe will discuss.
The discussions that have taken place on trade will not be tabled on this trip as VP Pence will focus on a narrow range of topics that hinge on peace and security in the region. After these meetings in Tokyo, Pence will attend meetings in Singapore for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and then a summit for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea.
Despite the jabs that President Trump takes at PM Abe, regarding trade deficits, he does openly admit that his strongest relationship is with the Japanese Prime Minister, more than most other leaders including those of Germany, Russia and China. Trump`s relationship with Germany and China have hit new lows in recent months.