Tue, Feb 28, 2017 | updated 01:48 AM IST

Abe sets up meeting with Trump in New York

Updated: Nov 10, 2016 19:13 IST

Tokyo [Japan], Nov. 10 (ANI): A day after Republican Donald Trump won the keys to the Oval Office, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a 20-minute teleconference Thursday morning with the president elect and agreed to meet him on November 17 in New York, if possible.

A senior official said that Prime Minister Abe, extended his congratulations to Trump and said he is convinced "America will be made even greater" under his leadership, reports the Japan Times.

Abe plans to stop in New York on his way to Lima for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on November 19 and 20.

In response, Trump praised Abe's economic achievements. He also said he is looking forward to working together with Abe over the next few years and will "further strengthen the great partnership" between the U.S. and Japan, said the official.

Before the election, Abe met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September in New York on her request, but did not meet with Trump.

After Trump emerged victorious, senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office scrambled to minimize any potential political damage by playing down the negative aspects of Trump's election.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized what he described as an unfair security treaty with the Japan. Abe has based all of his foreign policy on Japan's military ties with the U.S.

"We consider that what a candidate said during a political campaign can be different from what the candidate will actually do after taking office," one of the officials said, adding, "There may be some issues over specific policies, but the basic relations between the two countries won't change."

During the heated presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly painted Japan as a trade rival and said Tokyo shoulder the entire cost of maintaining U.S. military forces now stationed in the country.

Trump said the bilateral security treaty was overwhelmingly lopsided and even threatened to withdraw U.S. troops from Japan and South Korea and let them defend themselves.

A strong Japan-U.S. alliance is "indispensable" to support this peace and stability, Abe reportedly told Trump, adding he hopes to meet with him as soon as possible.

During their conversation, Trump and Abe only exchanged diplomatic greetings and didn't touch on any potentially sensitive defense and trade issues.

Asked whether they will discuss sensitive issues such as defense spending and the Trans-Pacific Partnership during their first meeting in New York, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said building trust will probably take priority over specific topics. (ANI)

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