US President Donald Trump has said he was not 'personally' bothered by recent short-range missile tests that North Korea conducted this month, breaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is hosting him on four-day state visit full of pageantry.
Standing beside Trump at a news conference after the talks, Abe disagreed saying the missile tests violated UN Security Council resolutions and were 'of great regret.' Abe, who has forged a strong friendship with Trump and agrees with him on many issues, is concerned because the short-range missiles pose a threat to Japan’s security.
Despite being far from Washington, he didn’t miss the chance to lob another broadside against the former, Vice President Joe Biden, one of the Democrats seeking to challenge Trump in next year’s presidential election. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un recently criticised Biden as having a low IQ, and Trump told the world he agreed with the authoritarian leader’s assessment.
The visit was designed to highlight the US-Japan alliance and showcase the warm relations between the leaders. Trump said he and Abe deliberated over economic issues, including trade and Iran, during hours of talks at the Akasaka Palace, but North Korea’s recent firing of short-range missiles emerged as an area of disagreement.
When asked if he was bothered by the missile tests, Trump said: “No, I’m not. I am personally not.” He has sought to downplay the significance of the tests, even though his own national security adviser, John Bolton, has said they violated UN resolutions. Trump continues to hold out hope of getting Kim to agree to give up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, despite two summits he’s had with him that produced no concrete pledge to denuclearise the peninsula.
The US President got the red carpet treatment at Japan’s Imperial Palace where he made history, becoming the first world leader to meet with the new emperor of Japan. Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, opening what is called the era of 'Reiwa,' or 'beautiful harmony.'