President Trump posted a tweet that likely surprised his Japanese hosts before they courted him Sunday with cheeseburgers, sumo-wrestling, and golf: "North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," Trump tweeted Saturday, referring to short-range weapons that are often aimed at Japan and could reach the island nation, per the New York Times. "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me." That contradicted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has called the launches "a breach of UN Security Council resolutions and extremely regrettable," and appeared to undercut John Bolton, who had echoed Abe's remark and said Abe and Trump will discuss the issue on Monday. For more:
- A signal? Trump's tweet also mentioned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and their occasional denuclearization talks: "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse," he wrote. "Perhaps that's sending me a signal?"
- Selfie time: But if Trump's words unnerved Abe, that didn't show as they smiled for a selfie before playing golf.
- Sumo time: After a round of golf, Abe took Trump to a sumo wrestling match where the president "appeared somewhat bored," the AP reports. But he was met with great applause and gave a big 60-pound trophy to the tournament champion.
- American beef: Abe's political courtship of Trump included a lunch of double cheeseburgers made from US beef, and on Monday a planned meeting with new Japanese emperor Nruhito and his wife Masako. Japan is "desperate to avoid a repeat of the trade friction between China and the US," per the Guardian.
- Don't rush this: Trump tweeted Sunday that "great progress" was being made in trade talks with Japan—"agriculture and beef heavily in play"—but said he won't press for a deal until Japan's elections for the upper house of Parliament, probably in July, per the Wall Street Journal.
- Sarah Sanders: On the homefront, Vanity Fair reports that Sanders defended Trump's reaction to the North Korean tyrant: "The president’s not 'siding' with that," she said. "But I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden."
(Trump began the trip by taking a little jab
at his hosts.)