- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2019

President Trump will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday for wide-ranging discussions on bolstering trade and security in the Indo-Pacific region and ensuring the “fully verified denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, the White House said.

Mr. Abe and his wife will join the president and first lady Melania Trump — who turns 49 on Friday — for a private dinner after the meetings, which will also focus on energy, infrastructure and priorities for the upcoming G-20 meetings in Osaka, Japan, in late June.

Mr. Trump has cultivated a friendly relationship with Mr. Abe. Last year, they bonded over a round of golf at the president’s hideaway in coastal Florida.

A key challenge will be striking a bilateral trade deal after Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The U.S. president wants to open up markets for American farmers, while Mr. Abe will seek to avoid auto tariffs that Mr. Trump has threatened.

Friday’s summit at the White House is the first of three meetings between the powerhouse leaders.

Even before the G-20, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Trump will visit Japan from May 25 to 28 as the first state visitors after Crown Prince Naruhito assumes the throne May 1 as Japanese emperor.

“We recognize this is really a great honor for the United States,” a senior administration official said of the visit.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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