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U.S. president Donald Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe appear to have cemented a strong alliance with the help of golf under the Florida sun and North Korea's reported ballistic missile launch.

The American president also expressed great personal warmth towards Abe, who was the first foreign leader to meet Trump as president-elect, and said the two of them "have a very, very good bond".

This charm offensive may already be paying some dividends, as Trump last week mentioned the "iron-clad USA commitment to ensuring the security of Japan".

The test came a day after Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and took a hardline against North Korea.

In his brief remarks before their joint press conference, Trump praised Japan as an "important and steadfast ally".

The Japan-U.S. relationship must not only be inward-looking, but should also discuss such global issues as refugees and climate change.

Abe is expected to propose a comprehensive economic cooperation plan called the "Japan-U.S. growth and employment initiative". The bilateral framework was created based on a proposal from Abe, whose aim was to continue explaining to the Trump administration the significance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accord, which the United States pulled out from.

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He predicted a level playing field on trade with China soon. But both have divergent visions of what "fair" trade constitutes. "He wants jobs, he wants economic growth, he wants infrastructure, but he doesn't want conflict with China". And, by playing a lead role in championing these initiatives, Beijing aspires to burnish its regional leadership credentials. "President Trump is avoiding the "one China' minefield".

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rally to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following Trump's warning that he had put the Islamic Republic "on notice", state TV says. It is believed to be the first direct contact between a USA president-elect or president and his Taiwanese counterpart since the 1970s.

Japanese officials described as unprecedented the inclusion in the statement that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty covered the Senkaku Islands, which is at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

Japan got continued USA backing for its dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea that China also claims.

As their husbands golfed, Mrs Trump and Akie Abe toured the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in nearby Delray Beach, Mrs. Trump's first solo event as first lady.

For most of the day Saturday, Trump and the Japanese prime minister played golf under the Florida sun to get to know one another and show the world the U.S. -Japan alliance remained strong.


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