Transition team says Trump’s campaign talk should not be taken literally

Following an informal meeting between President-elect Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, CNN reports: Like other Asian leaders, Abe was keen to discover how much of Trump’s campaign-trail rhetoric will become policy, in particular whether Trump will follow through on a suggestion he might withdraw US troops from the region.

A top aide to Abe, Katsuyuki Kawai, said that he’d been told by members of Trump’s transition team that Trump’s previous remarks should not be taken literally.

It’s not hard to see why Abe wanted to get first word with Trump.

The Japanese government was concerned by remarks made by Trump during his campaign about relations between the two countries. In particular, officials were rattled by Trump’s suggestions that Japan, which until last year had a pacifist constitution, should obtain nuclear weapons to protect itself from North Korea.

“Japan is better if it protects itself against this maniac of North Korea,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in March.

At the time, Abe said that “whoever will become the next president of the United States, the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy.”

A special adviser sent in advance by Abe to meet with members of Trump’s transition team said he was told Japan shouldn’t take Trump’s campaign talk literally. [Continue reading…]

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