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Thousands of Indonesians again protest Trump’s Jerusalem move

December 10, 2017

Thousands protested outside the US Embassy in the Indonesian capital on Sunday against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, many waving banners saying “Palestine is in our hearts”.

Leaders in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, have joined a global chorus of condemnation of Trump’s announcement, including Western allies who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks sparking more violence.

Thousands of protesters in Muslim-majority countries in Asia have rallied in recent days to condemn the US move.

Israel maintains that all of Jerusalem is its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and say Trump’s move has left them completely sidelined.

Palestinian people were among the first to recognize Indonesia’s independence in 1945, Sohibul Iman, president of the opposition Prosperous Justice Party which organised the rally, told protesters.

Indonesia should be more proactive in “urging the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) member states and UN Security Council and the international community to respond immediately with more decisive and concrete political and diplomatic actions in saving the Palestinians from the Israeli occupation and its collaborator, the United States of America,” Iman said.

“Indonesia as the world’s largest Muslim country has the largest responsibility toward the independence of Palestine and the management of Jerusalem,” he told reporters, adding that he hoped Indonesia would take a leading role within the OIC on the matter.

“Trump has disrupted world peace. It’s terrible,” one protester, Yusri, told Reuters.

The decision was “a major disaster for the Palestinian people, while the Palestinian’s own rights have been taken away for a long time,” said Septi, a student at the rally.

Indonesia’s foreign minister left for Jordan on Sunday to meet the Palestinian and Jordanian foreign ministers “to convey Indonesia’s full support for Palestine”.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.

Emboldened by Trump’s announcement, Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant decided on Friday to promote a plan to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171210-thousands-of-indonesians-again-protest-trumps-jerusalem-move/.

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Meghan Markle has advocated for women since the age of 11

November 28, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Meghan Markle became an advocate for women when she was an 11-year-old elementary school student, and achieving gender equality remains a driving force for the fiancée of Britain’s Prince Harry and self-described “feminist.”

Since 2014, the American actress has helped put a global spotlight on the need for equality between women and men as an “Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership” for the women’s agency of the United Nations.

In her role for UN Women, Markle spent time at the World Bank and with the team of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton learning more about the issue. She also visited Rwanda, which has the highest percentage of women in parliament and where she also met with female refugees.

UN Women said in a statement after Monday’s announcement of Markle’s engagement to Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson that it “trusts and hopes that in her new and important public role she will continue to use her visibility and voice to support the advancement of gender equality.”

Markle spoke about her accidental road to becoming an advocate at a star-studded celebration in March 2015 for the 20th anniversary of the Beijing women’s conference that adopted a roadmap to achieve equality for women, which is the framework for UN Women’s activities.

Her opening words drew loud applause and cheers: “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.” Markle recalled that around the time of the 1995 Beijing conference she was in school in Los Angeles watching television and saw a commercial for a dishwashing liquid with the tagline: “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

“Two boys from my class said, ‘Yeah. That’s where women belong — in the kitchen,'” she said. “I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt. It just wasn’t right, and something needed to be done,” Markle said.

When she went home, she told her dad, who encouraged her to write letters. “My 11-year-old self worked out that if I really wanted someone to hear, well then I should write a letter to the first lady. So off I went scribbling away to our first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton,” Markle said.

She also wrote to her main news source, Linda Ellerbee, who hosted a kids news program, as well as to “powerhouse attorney” Gloria Allred and to the manufacturer of the dishwashing soap. To her surprise, she said, after a few weeks she received letters of encouragement from Clinton, Allred and Ellerbee, who even sent a camera crew to her house to cover the story.

“It was roughly a month later when the soap manufacturer, Proctor and Gamble, changed the commercial for their Ivory Clear Dishwashing Liquid … from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to “People all over America …’,” Markle said.

“It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions,” she said. “At the age of 11, I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.” Markle said that for her, equality means that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is equal to the little girl in the refugee camp who dreams of being president and the U.N. secretary-general is equal to the U.N. intern who dreams of shaking his hand.

And “it means that a wife is equal to her husband, a sister to her brother — not better, not worse. They are equal,” she said. UN Women has set 2030 “as the expiration date for gender inequality,” Markle said, but even though women comprise more than half the world’s population, their voices still go unheard “at the highest levels of decision-making.”

Markle called for programs to mobilize girls and women “to see their value as leaders” and for support to ensure they have seats at the top table. And when those seats aren’t available, “then they need to create their own table,” she said to loud applause.

Markle also said Rwanda’s Kagame, who has championed women in parliament, should be a role model, “just as we need more men like my father, who championed my 11-year-old self to stand up for what is right.”

American actress Meghan Markle to be a new kind of royal

November 28, 2017

LONDON (AP) — She is an entertainment figure in her own right, and an outspoken woman comfortable talking about her background and her passions. American actress Meghan Markle will be a new type of royal when she weds Prince Harry in the spring.

In some ways, Markle — a mixed-race American raised in California, and a divorcee — makes a surprising addition to Britain’s monarchy. But the institution has moved on with the times, and the romance between Markle and Harry has a decidedly unstuffy, modern feel to it.

Markle, best known for her role as an ambitious paralegal in the hit U.S. legal drama “Suits,” surprised many when she shared her feelings for Harry in a September cover story for Vanity Fair. Asked about the media frenzy surrounding their courtship, the 36-year-old said: “At the end of the day I think it’s really simple … we’re two people who are really happy and in love.”

Describing Harry as her “boyfriend,” Markle said that while she expected that she and Harry would have to “come forward” about their relationship at some point, the two were just a couple enjoying time spent with each other.

“Personally, I love a great love story,” she said. It is unusual for a royal love interest to speak so publicly — and candidly — before becoming engaged. Harry’s past reported girlfriends all shied away from the media limelight, and his sister-in-law, formerly known as Kate Middleton, stayed silent until she and Prince William gave a formal televised interview at Buckingham Palace after their engagement became public.

But then, unlike some other “commoners” romantically linked to Britain’s royals, Markle is no stranger to media exposure and the world of show business. The actress’s most successful role is the feisty Rachel Zane in the TV legal show “Suits,” now in its seventh season. Her career has also included small parts on TV series including “Fringe,” ”CSI: Miami,” ”Knight Rider” and “Castle,” as well as movies including “Horrible Bosses.”

Outside of acting, Markle founded a lifestyle blog called TheTig.com (which closed down in April without explanation), and has lent her celebrity status to humanitarian causes. She has campaigned for women’s equality for UN Women as an “Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership.” At a 2015 star-studded event for the U.N. women’s agency, she said: “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.”

UN Women said in a statement late Monday that it “trusts and hopes that in her new and important public role she will continue to use her visibility and voice to support the advancement of gender equality.”

Markle has written in Time magazine about girls’ education and the stigma surrounding menstruation, and has traveled to Rwanda as global ambassador for the charity World Vision Canada. She has described how her mother took her to the slums of Jamaica to witness poverty first-hand, saying experiences like that shaped her social consciousness and charity work.

She has campaigned with the United Nations on gender equality, written in Time magazine about girls’ education and the stigma surrounding menstruation, and has traveled to Rwanda as global ambassador for the charity World Vision Canada. She has described how her mother took her to the slums of Jamaica to witness poverty first-hand, saying experiences like that shaped her social consciousness and charity work.

Harry and Markle held hands for their first official appearance together in September in Toronto at the Invictus Games, a sporting event for wounded service personnel that Harry spearheaded. Both were dressed casually in jeans, smiling and chatting as they arrived for a tennis match. Several days later, Harry was photographed kissing Markle on the cheek as he joined the actress and her mother in a luxury box to watch the event’s closing ceremony.

Markle said she met Harry through friends in London in July 2016, and that they had been dating quietly for several months before the romance hit the headlines. The media attention then became so intense that Harry took the unusual step of officially confirming the romance in order to warn the media off. In a strongly-worded statement issued through the palace, the prince pleaded for reporters to stop intruding on his girlfriend’s privacy. He condemned “outright sexism and racism” in some online comments, and said some articles with “racial undertones” had crossed the line.

Some tabloids had alluded to Markle’s mixed-race heritage, pointing out she has an African-American mother and a white father. Markle herself has spoken out about coming to terms with being biracial — both growing up, and in her Hollywood career.

In a March interview with Allure magazine, she said studying race at college was “the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community and too mixed in the white community. “For castings, I was labeled ‘ethnically ambiguous’,” she said.

Markle was born Aug. 4, 1981, to a clinical therapist mother and television lighting director father. She grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in Toronto. She studied at a girls’ Roman Catholic high school before attending Northwestern University in Illinois, where she studied theater and international relations.

Markle married film producer Trevor Engelson in 2011, but the pair divorced two years later. It wouldn’t be first time that a British royal has married an American — or a divorcee. In 1936, Edward VIII famously abdicated after he was forced to choose between the monarchy and his relationship with twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

In her Vanity Fair interview, Markle made clear the world’s attention on her romance did not faze her. “I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship,” she said. “The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise.”

Erdogan swipes at Russia, U.S. missions in Syria

NOVEMBER 13, 2017

ANKARA/SOCHI (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took swipes at U.S. and Russian interventions in Syria on Monday and said if countries truly believed a military solution was impossible, they should withdraw their troops.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump said in a joint statement on Saturday they would continue to fight against Islamic State in Syria, while agreeing that there was no military solution to the country’s wider, six-year-old conflict.

”I am having trouble understanding these comments,“ Erdogan told reporters before flying to Russia for talks with Putin. ”If a military solution is out of the question, then those who say this should pull their troops out.

“Then a political method should be sought in Syria, ways to head into elections should be examined… We will discuss these with Putin,” he said.

After more than four hours of talks with Putin in the southern Russian resort of Sochi, Erdogan said the two leaders had agreed to focus on a political solution to the conflict.

“We agreed that the grounds to focus on a political solution (in Syria) have been formed,” he said.

Putin said Russia would continue to work on Syria with Turkey and their efforts were yielding results: “The level of violence has definitely been reduced, favorable conditions are being created for the progression of a inter-Syrian dialogue.”

Neither leader went into more specific detail. Asked if the two discussed Erdogan’s earlier comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the talks were about more complex issues which could not be made public, according to RIA news agency.

Turkey has been annoyed by both Russian and U.S. missions in Syria. Before his trip to Russia, Erdogan said both Moscow, which backs President Bashar al-Assad, and Washington, which armed Syrian YPG Kurdish forces Ankara sees as allied to separatists fighting in southeastern Turkey, had set up bases.

“The United States said it would completely leave Iraq, but it didn‘t. The world is not stupid, some realities are being told differently and practiced differently,” he said.

He said the United States had 13 bases in Syria and Russia had five. The YPG has said Washington has established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria. The U.S.-led coalition says it does not discuss the location of its forces.

Russia has been a strong supporter of Assad, whose removal Erdogan has demanded, and Moscow’s military intervention two years ago helped turn the conflict in the Syrian president’s favor.

Turkish troops have also fought in Syria to halt the advance of Kurdish YPG forces along its frontier.

“We attach great importance to the joint steps Turkey and Russia will take on (the) defense industry,” Erdogan said.

Source: Reuters.

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-turkey-russia/erdogan-swipes-at-russia-u-s-missions-in-syria-idUSKBN1DD1F2.

As Turkey and US agree to disagree, Erdogan heads east

2017-11-13

By Thomas Seibert

ISTANBUL

Turkey and the United States have failed to iron out differences in key areas of their relationship, including a visa dispute, during high-level talks that put a spotlight on tensions between An­kara and the West.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met with US Vice-Pres­ident Mike Pence in the White House on November 9 in the first face-to-face contact by senior of­ficials of the two NATO partners since the United States angered Ankara a month earlier by suspending visa services for Turks in response to the arrest of an employee of the US Consulate in Is­tanbul by Turkish authorities.

A White House statement issued after the Pence-Yildirim meeting expressed hope for a “new chapter in US-Turkey relations” as well as agreement “on the need for constructive dialogue.” Yildirim told Turkish reporters travelling with him that, while Pence had displayed a “positive” approach towards Turkey, the visa problem remained unsolved. “We will follow developments,” he said.

Turkey introduced similar restrictions for US citizens and both countries had relaxed their visa bans before Yildirim’s visit.

The White House and Turkey were unable to resolve other issues as well. Yildirim said Pence had made it clear that US support for a Kurdish militia in Syria, seen as a terrorist group by Ankara, would continue despite Turkish protests. Pence pressed Yildirim on the case of Andrew Brunson, a US pastor under arrest in Turkey, and Yildirim criticized an indictment by US prosecutors against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader awaiting trial in New York. Reports have said Zarrab’s trial might rekindle corruption allegations against the Erdogan government.

“We have decided to continue the dialogue,” Yildirim said about his meeting with Pence, the Turk­ish newspaper Hurriyet reported. The prime minister and the vice-president agreed to create a direct phone link and Yildirim said: “Our telephones will be reachable 24 hours.”

Some observers saw Yildirim’s visit as a failure.

“The trip’s futility is hardly surprising for Turkey watchers,” Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Wash­ington think-tank, wrote in an analysis. “The Turkish prime minister probably had no illusions of his ability to extract any concessions from his American counterparts but, as Erdogan’s loyal caretaker, Yildirim performed the role that his boss had demanded.”

While Turkey’s ties with the United States and key European allies remain difficult, Ankara is strengthening its relations with Russia. Less than two months after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tur­key, the Turkish leader was to see him November 13 at Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Turkey raised eyebrows in the West by cooperating with Russia in the Syrian crisis and by talking with Moscow about buying a Russian missile defense system, S-400, a highly unusual step for a NATO country.

Erdogan was also to fly to Ku­wait for talks that are expected to center on the row between Qatar and a Saudi-led quartet of neighboring countries. Turkey is a supporter of Qatar, while US President Donald Trump has taken a strong stance against what he calls financial support for terrorism by the government in Doha.

Thomas Seibert is an Arab Weekly contributor in Istanbul.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=85910.

Rival US and Russian resolutions defeated on Syria weapons

November 17, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Rival U.S. and Russian resolutions to extend the mandate of experts trying to determine who was responsible for chemical attacks in Syria were defeated Thursday at a heated Security Council meeting that reflected the deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow.

The result of the two votes means that the expert body — the Joint Investigative Mechanism known as the JIM — will cease operations when its current mandate expires at midnight Thursday. The U.S., its allies and human rights groups called it a serious blow to efforts to hold accountable those responsible for carrying out chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

During a three-hour drama, Russia first vetoed the U.S. draft resolution which was supported by 11 of the 15 Security Council members. Bolivia joined Russia in voting “no” and China and Egypt abstained.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia withdrew the Russian resolution over Moscow’s insistence that it be voted on second not first as required under council rules. But using another council rule, Bolivia then resubmitted and called for a vote on that resolution.

It failed to receive the minimum nine “yes” votes required for adoption. Only Russia, China, Bolivia and Kazakhstan voted in favor while seven council members voted against and four abstained. Japan late Thursday proposed a 30-day extension of the JIM and the Security Council was expected to discuss it on Friday.

At the heart of the dispute was the demand by Russia, Syria’s most important ally, for major changes in the way the JIM operates and the U.S. insistence that the JIM’s current mandate and independence be preserved.

After the votes, the United States and Russia blamed each other for ending the JIM’s operations, both insisting they wanted it to continue. “To my Russian friends, the next chemical weapons attack is on your head,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said. “By not having a JIM, you are basically telling the entire world that chemical weapons are OK to use. That’s what we should be embarrassed about today.”

Russia’s Nebenzia shot back saying: “Today it became absolutely clear we need a robust professional mechanism that will help to prevent the threat of chemical terrorism in the region, and you need a puppet-like structure to manipulate public opinion — which on the basis of false information will time after time accuse the Syrian government of violating international norms.”

Those who voted against the Russian resolution put forward by Bolivia “bear the full brunt of responsibility for the cessation of the operations of the JIM,” Nebenzia said. Russia has been highly critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015, and used sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others who survived the nerve agent.

Syria repeated its denial of using chemical weapons. The JIM has also accused the Islamic State extremist group of using mustard gas in 2015 adsnd again in September 2016 in Um Hosh in Aleppo. Nebenzia accused the JIM of “fundamental flaws” in blaming President Bashar Assad’s government for the attacks.

He cited its use of “remote working methods” and failure to visit Khan Sheikhoun, “focusing solely on dubious testimony from opposition and even terrorist groups, the disregard for the whole range of rules and methods provided for under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Haley countered that Russia and its allies “want a JIM that doesn’t have independence.” “They want a JIM that doesn’t have reporting,” she said. “They want a JIM that they can micromanage, or that any member can micromanage.”

Haley noted that this was the 10th veto by Russia to support Syria. “You have to realize when a country is playing games with people’s lives,” she said. “That’s exactly what is happening here. And it’s been happening for 10 times.”

The vote took place against the backdrop of the military and political situation in Syria, where Assad’s forces have gained the upper hand. A new round of U.N.-hosted Syrian peace talks is scheduled to start in Geneva on Nov. 28.

Haley said: “The only thing that today has proved is that Russia cannot be trusted in the political process with Syria.” “Russia will not be a good and trusted actor because they want to control who’s at fault,” she said. “They want to control what happens. They want to control that area because they want to work with Iran and Syria to make sure that they have it all under control.”

Nebenia said Haley “betrayed what was trying to be hidden all the time, but in fact the whole thing was envisaged and invented to show that Russia should not be trusted in the Syrian political process.”

“It’s not coincidental,” he said, “because the political process in Syria is … slowly gaining momentum and Russia is very instrumental in it. And so this is the very opportune moment to tell that Russia should not play the role here.”

Nebenzia said he didn’t think Thursday’s votes would affect the Geneva talks which Russia supports.

With tensions high, Trump, Abe strengthen bond on the links

November 05, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — With a round of golf, a custom cap and a hamburger of American beef, President Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia began with a taste of home. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Trump to Japan Sunday with an effusive display of friendship that, in the days ahead, will give way to high-stakes diplomacy. The two leaders, who have struck up an unlikely but easy rapport, shared a casual lunch and played nine holes at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, joined by professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama.

The low-key agenda was a prelude to the formal talks, a press conference and state dinner planned in Tokyo Monday. Abe will be looking for a united front against North Korea and reassurances that the U.S. will stand by its treaty obligations to defend Japan if attacked.

Eager to forge a bond with Tokyo’s crucial ally, Abe was one of the first world leaders to court President-elect Trump. He was the first to call Trump after the election, and rushed to New York days later to meet the president-elect and present him with a pricey, gold Honma golf driver. The two men also met on the sidelines of an international summit in Italy this spring and Trump hosted Abe in Florida. White House officials said Trump has spoken with Abe by phone more than any world leader, aside from British Prime Minister Theresa May.

That bond was clear on Sunday. “The relationship is really extraordinary. We like each other and our countries like each other,” Trump said Sunday night before dinner with Abe, who for this meal did show Trump traditional cuisine with a teppanyaki dinner. “And I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.”

Trump and Abe also exchanged glowing tweets about their golf. Trump dubbed Abe and Matsuyama “wonderful people,” while Abe called it a “round of golf with a marvelous friend.” Abe told reporters after the golf session that the two could talk frankly in a relaxed atmosphere while out on the course. He said they were able to “carry out in depth discussion, at times touching on various difficult issues.” A senior White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said the pair had discussed trade and North Korea — but didn’t keep score.

From the time Marine One landed on the Kasumigaseki Country Club’s driving range, Abe rolled out little touches to make Trump feel welcome. He presented a hat that had a version of Trump’s campaign theme, this time reading “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.” The two passed up the region’s famed Kobe beef in favor of the American version, which is favored by Trump, a famed picky eater.

When Trump hosted Abe in Palm Beach earlier this year, they played at one of Trump’s Florida golf courses. For that outing, Trump brought along pro golfer Ernie Els, so this time Abe matched him by bringing along Matsuyama, whom Trump described on the plane ride to Asia as “probably the greatest player in the history of Japan.” Abe was behind the wheel of a golf cart as the two men were spotted moving from hole to hole, Trump in the passenger seat smiling and waving at those they passed.

“From the point of view of Abe administration, the personal chemistry that exists between the two leaders is seen as an asset,” said Mireya Sollis, chair in Japan Studies for the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She said that the Japanese believe it is already “seeing it pay off,” including when Trump agreed to meet with the families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North Korean regime, an important issue for Tokyo.

Ever since Saudi Arabia delivered a lavish welcome on Trump’s first international trip, leaders have tried to outdo themselves to impress the president, who has proven susceptible to flattery. Before the game, Trump delivered a speech in which he hailed Japan as a “crucial ally” and warned adversaries not to test America’s resolve.

“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Trump told American and Japanese service members at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Though Trump did not mention North Korea by name during the speech, the spectre of its weapons program will loom large throughout Trump’s five-nation Asia trip. The president warned of the consequences of crossing what he called the “most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.”

“Together with our allies, America’s warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve,” he told the troops.

And while there is worry in the region about Trump’s unpredictable response to the threat posed by Kim Jong Un, Trump made clear he did not intend to tone down his bellicose rhetoric — including dubbing Kim Jong Un as “Little Rocket Man” — even while in an Asian capital within reach of the North Korea dictator’s missiles.

“There’s been 25 years of total weakness, so we are taking a very much different approach,” he said, speaking to reporters on Air Force One. Trump will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an upcoming summit in Vietnam.

The easy rapport with Japan could be strained if Trump takes an aggressive approach on trade or the two men disagree on how best to approach the threat looming in Pyongyang. During his campaign, Trump suggested Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons to defend itself, hinted the U.S. might not come to the nation’s defense, and accused Japan of “killing us” on trade. He has dropped that antagonist language almost entirely since the election, but tensions remain.

Scott Seaman, a director for Asia of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultant organization, noted: “everything is fine with Trump until you tell him no. So far, Abe hasn’t told him no.”

Colvin reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Ken Moritsugu, James Armstrong and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

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