Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Friday that the U.S. and Japan would strengthen their alliance in the Asia-Pacific to ensure peace.
“The cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, that is the strong U.S.-Japan alliance,” Abe said through a translator during a joint press conference with Trump at the White House. “The United States will strengthen its presence in the region and under the banner of a proactive contribution to peace, Japan will play a greater role.”
Abe’s remarks seem to address Trump’s complaints during the campaign about the United States subsidizing too much of the defense in the Asia-Pacific region. But the Trump administration has taken steps to reassure allies in the region since his election.
Abe’s comments also build on remarks made by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a recent trip to Japan and South Korea, where Mattis warned China and North Korea not to attack U.S. allies.
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Trump used the White House event with Abe to thank Japan for hosting U.S. military forces.
“I also want to take this opportunity, Mr. Prime Minister, to thank you and the people of Japan for hosting our armed forces,” Trump said. “Working together, our two countries have the ability to bring greater harmony, stability, and prosperity to the Pacific region and beyond, improving countless lives in the process.”
He added, “we are committed to that goal — highly committed.”