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Abe, Trump agree to strengthen bilateral alliance, economic ties

WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in their summit talks at the White House on Feb. 10 to strengthen the bilateral alliance and economic relations.

The two leaders also confirmed that Article 5 of the bilateral security treaty, which obligates the United States to defend Japan in case of an armed attack on the country, applies to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, which are also claimed by China.

This is the first summit meeting between Abe and Trump although they met in New York in November last year before Trump was sworn in.

At a joint news conference after the meeting, Prime Minister Abe described the Japan-U.S. alliance as the "cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," and vowed to cooperate with Trump to strengthen the alliance.

Prime Minister Abe proposed to Trump that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold cross-sectoral consultations aimed at deepening bilateral economic ties, which the president accepted.

On the security front, the two leaders shared the view that the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district of the prefectural city of Nago, is the "only solution," and that the two countries will work together on the matter.

At the news conference, President Trump expressed gratitude to Japan for hosting U.S. forces in its territory.

The Japanese and U.S. leaders strongly urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile development programs and warned Pyongyang against further provoking the international community.

With regard to trade policy, Abe and Trump agreed to take the initiative to "create free and fair markets based on rules in the Asia Pacific region."

At the news conference, Trump said, "We will seek a trading relationship that is free, fair and reciprocal, benefiting both of our countries."

Following the meeting, Abe and Trump issued a joint statement confirming their determination to further strengthen the bilateral alliance and economic relations.

Prime Minister Abe invited Trump to visit Japan sometime before the end of this year, and Trump accepted Abe's invitation.

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