Donald Trump toasts 'bromance' with Japan PM Shinzo Abe

  • 07/11/2017
Donald Trump toasts 'bromance' with Japan PM Shinzo Abe
Photo credit: Reuters

Every American president has a favourite foreign leader. For Donald Trump, it seems to be Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The two leaders toasted their "bromance" on Monday as they wrapped up two days of golf, burgers and serious talks on trade and North Korea.

The two men have met face-to-face six times since Mr Trump was elected US president a year ago and had 16 telephone conversations. They've played golf twice, once at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and again on Sunday outside Tokyo.

Mr Abe recalled how his grandfather, then-premier Nobusuke Kishi, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower began the tradition of US-Japan golf diplomacy 60 years ago.

"When you play golf not just once but two times, the person must be your favourite guy," Mr Abe said ahead of a formal banquet with Mr Trump on Monday. He added that never had two Japanese and American leaders forged such a close bond in just one year.

Mr Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Mr Trump after his election last November, a win that caught Tokyo off guard after many had expected Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton to win and worried about Mr Trump's "America First" rhetoric.

Mr Trump told the dinner guests that for protocol reasons, he shouldn't have met a foreign leader before his inauguration - but when he tried to call Mr Abe to wave him off, the Japanese premier was already on a plane to New York.

"We have to spend more time together because I enjoyed every minute of it even though he is a very tough negotiator," Mr Trump said. "We will be back soon."

Mr Trump has previously described Mr Abe his "phone buddy" and "loyal sidekick".