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In Japan, Trump Pushes A Hard Line On Trade And A Soft Line On North Korea; Trump And Abe Hold News Conference After Meeting; A Confusing Message in Europe; Koreas Tensions; Destruction in Oklahoma; News Conference with Trump and Abe. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 27, 2019 - 02:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: You're looking at live pictures right now. We're waiting for a news conference any moment from President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as the U.S. and Japanese leaders try to find common ground over North Korea and trade issues.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, in Europe, a mixed message. Voters there bring in some nationalist parties into power. But also back liberal and green parties in parliamentary elections.

CHURCH: And we look at the destruction in Oklahoma as tornadoes ripped through towns, devastating entire communities. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and, of course, from around the world. I am Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I am George Howell from CNN world headquarters in the ATL. Newsroom starts right now.

CHURCH: And we begin this hour in Tokyo, as we look at these live pictures where U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese President Shinzo Abe have been holding an emotional meeting with families of Japanese citizens who have been abducted by North Korea. Now, Mr. Trump promised to work with Mr. Abe to try to bring those people home.

HOWELL: Emotional indeed, Rosemary. In the meantime, we're waiting for the U.S. president and the prime minister to hold a news conference there at the -- Melania Trump, we're just told entering the room. Again, we're looking at these live images -- Akasaka Palace is where this is happening, the U.S. president soon to enter the room along with the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We see John Bolton there, who is in the room now.

So this news conference set to happen at any moment. The two leaders met earlier for several hours. They talked about trade. They talked about military ties. And of course, spoke about North Korea. During the remarks a short time ago, President Trump said the relations between the United States and Japan are the strongest they've ever been, and that Washington's relationship with North Korea has come a long way. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of things are happening, a lot of very positive things are happening on trade. I personally think that lots of good things will come with North Korea. I feel that. I may be right. I maybe wrong, but I feel that. We've come a long way. There's been no rocket testing. There's been no nuclear testing. There's been very little (AUDIO GAP).


CHURCH: All right, as you can see, the U.S. president coming in with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They are talking about these particular sensitive issues. North Korea, military ties, and trade. Let's have a listen to see what they have to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would like to commence the press conference with President Trump. In the beginning, Prime Minister Abe will speak, which will be followed by the remarks by President Trump. Prime minister, the floor is yours.

SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: On the first of May, his imperial majesty, the emperor ascended to the throne, and we now have the new era called Reiwa. At the dawn of the new era, it is (Inaudible) pleasure that I am able to welcome President Trump and Madame Melania as our first state guests in the new era of (Inaudible). They are my dearest friends for myself and for my wife.

With President Trump, we had the summit talk last month at the White House, and celebrated Melania's birthday together. Didn't we? Next month, he will be visiting Japan again in order to come to the G20 Osaka summit. Because of the peace and security legislation, U.S. and Japan have become an alliance where we can help one another. The bond has become rock solid.

Because of the very close personal relationship with Donald, the bond of U.S.-Japan alliance has become unshakeable, the closest in the whole world. In the new era of Reiwa, U.S. and Japan must lead for the peace and prosperity of the region and international community as the genuinely global partners. This visit of president and Madame Trump to Japan is a golden opportunity to clearly show the unshakeable bond to the whole world and inside Japan as well.

[02:05:17] I would like to express my gratitude to the friendship of President Trump and Madame First Lady. At the summit talk today, bearing in mind of the latest North Korean situation, we spent a good amount of time in better aligning our policies. The positions of Japan and the United States in this regard are completely on the same page. President Trump and Madame Melania continue to meet the family members of the abduction victims.

Just like two years ago when they visit Japan. They encouraged and gave comfort to the members of the victims. The resolution of the most important abduction issue at the earliest possible timing is what I am hoping for. And I am determined that I have to face Chairman Kim Jong-Un myself directly without any conditions. I will meet with the chairman and I would like to have discussion frankly in complete candor.

President Trump has expressed strong support to my determination as such by saying that he would support me totally and would not spare any effort in assisting me. Continuously, we will have the close collaboration between the two countries. We shall miss no opportunities and look toward the early resolution of the abduction issue. We will act resolutely.

In today's summit meeting, we welcomed the steady progress of U.S.- Japan cooperation, looking toward the creation of free and open indo- pacific, including areas such as energy, digital, and infrastructure. Going forward, we will walk hand in hand and promote cooperation for the realization of this common vision of our two nations. We will be promoting the idea forcefully.

With countries concerned like Australia, India, (Inaudible) U.K., and France, we will fortify the cooperation toward the realization of free and open indo-pacific. We will enhance and expand our efforts. We agreed on that. Since President Trump came to the office, Japanese companies decided on new investment to the tune of $24 billion to the United States, thereby creating 45,000 new jobs.

Daring tax reform that the president conducted, thanks to that, automotive and energy-related to Japanese companies are making investments in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alabama, and Kentucky, and others. They have decided to make new investments. Those contributing most in the U.S. economy are the Japanese companies. It's been only one month since the last summit talks.

In a short span of one month, Japanese companies increased their investments to the United States by $1 billion. And with this vigorous investment appetite, Japanese companies are deciding to make investment to the United States one after another. U.S.-Japan economic relationship is developing in a major way in a modality of bringing in win-win situations.

Following the joint statement of September last year, minister (Inaudible) are proceeding with a discussion. And I welcome this discussion. In today's talks between myself and President Trump, we should achieve early outcome based upon the trustful relationship between our two nations. We shall accelerate the pace of discussion. We agreed on that.

Next month at the G20 Osaka summit, President Trump, I am going to welcome him again in Osaka. I am looking forward to it. For the success of the G20 summit, U.S.-Japan cooperation is indispensable. I will continue to collaborate closely with President Trump. Yesterday, I was able to talk with President Trump on a variety of issues in a relaxed atmosphere, like a game of golf, watching sumo wrestling, as well as dinner where our spouses joined.

[02:10:22] Your friendship and truthful relationship was even more enhanced. The exuberance of joy shown by the crowd that I witnessed in the stadium, as well as the frenzied excitement of the general public when the Presidential Cup was handed to (Inaudible) the champion, indeed, a new page was added to the prestigious history of sumo. Donald, I thank you very much.

Tomorrow, together with President Trump, I will go to the coast guard and visit our escort ship anchored in Yokosuka and show the strong bond of U.S.-Japan alliance to the people of Japan and the world. Lastly, once again, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Donald and Madame Melania for honoring us with your visit to Japan as the first state guests of the new era Reiwa. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then, President Trump of the United States, the floor is yours.

TRUMP: Prime Minister Abe, the First Lady and I are profoundly honored to return to this very beautiful nation as Japan's first state guests following the enthronement of his majesty, the emperor. On behalf of the United States, we want to thank the Imperial Family for this gracious invitation and warm welcome. It was really wonderful. Melania and I are thrilled to be back in the land of the rising sun.

It is a true privilege to take part in the splendor of this historic moment and witness an ancient Japanese tradition as you begin the new imperial era. We look forward to seeing a new emperor continue his father's extraordinary legacy. Yesterday, Melania and I were delighted to join you, Prime Minister, in attending a sumo tournament. I have always wanted to see a sumo tournament, so true.

And they are bigger and stronger than I even thought, and your very impressive and new national arena where I presented the first-ever U.S. President's Cup to the sumo grand champion. That was something. This morning, we participated in a magnificent welcome ceremony with their majesty's the emperor and empress at the Grand Imperial Palace. Japan's time honored customs and exclusive culture fill us with a deep sense of admiration.

I want to thank all of the people of Japan for welcoming us to this week and sharing your beloved heritage. It is truly an incredible heritage. This visit has also been a chance for Prime Minister Abe and me to strengthen our close friendship and the friendship between our two nations. The alliance between the United States and Japan is a cornerstone of stability and prosperity in the region and around the world.

The prime minister and I continue our close consultation in pursuit of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The essence of our approach is peace through strength. And this is a strong alliance, indeed. The U.S.-Japan alliance is steadfast and ironclad. We want peace and we want stability. We continue to hope that Chairman Kim seizes the opportunity to transform his country through denuclearization.

It is a country with tremendous economic and other potential. The United States also remains committed to the issue of abductions, which I know is a top priority for Prime Minister Abe. Earlier today, I met for the second time with a group of Japanese families who have suffered the unthinkable heartbreak by having their loved ones abducted by North Korea. The United States will continue to support Japan's efforts to bring these abductees home.

Our nations are also cooperating on a number of other vital security issues. The United States supports Japan's efforts to improve its defense capabilities. And in recent months, we have greatly expedited the sale of large amounts of defense equipment to Japan made in the United States. We make the best equipment in the world.

[02:15:07] In 2018, Japan was one of the world's top purchasers of American defense equipment. And it has just announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new F-35 stealth aircrafts. Stealth because the fact is, you can't see them. This purchase would give Japan the largest F-35 fleet of any U.S. ally. America and Japan's close security ties are grounded in shared values, our armed forces train and serve together all around the world.

Tomorrow, I will visit American troops stationed alongside the Japanese self-defense forces right here in Japan. On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank the Japanese people for graciously hosting our servicemembers and military families. The United States and Japan are also working to improve our economic relationship based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity. We are currently negotiating a bilateral trade agreement that would benefit both of our economies.

Our goal is to reduce our trade deficit with Japan. Remove trade barriers and barriers of all kinds so that U.S. exports will really have a fair and very profound footing. Just over one week ago, U.S. beef gained full access to Japanese markets for the first time since 2003. We hope to have even more to announce on the trade very, very soon.

And finally, today, I am pleased to confirm that Prime Minister Abe and I have agreed to dramatically expand our nation's cooperation in human space exploration. Japan will join our mission to send U.S. astronauts to space. We'll be going to the Moon. We'll be going to Mars very soon. It's very exciting. And from the military standpoint, there is nothing more important right now than space.

This is an exciting starting point for greater collaboration on many other things. Mr. Prime Minister, our visit this week is a moving reminder of the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the deep friendship between our people. It is a profound honor to be in Japan at this important moment in your nation's history. For this new imperial era, your nation has chosen the name Reiwa, meaning beautiful harmony.

America shares this wonderful aspiration for the future. And I look forward to continuing our tremendous partnership as we work together to bring this noble vision to life. Thank you very much. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. Now the floor is open for accepting questions. Japanese media first, followed by the press entourage accompanying the president. Japanese person, please raise your hand and be recognized by me. Regarding the American press, Ms. Sanders from the U.S. will decide the questions. First are the questions from the Japanese media, please. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question to Prime Minister Abe on

abduction. Japan-Korea summit meeting, do you think that the problem would be resolved in one time meeting with Chairman Kim, or do you have to go through a plural number of meetings in order to seek solutions? What time frame would you like to realize the summit talk? Is it going to happen by the end of this year? In that sense -- in that case, could there be discussions involving the U.S. as well?

ABE: Regarding the relationship with North Korea, first of all, I have to note the fact that President Trump cracked open the shell of distrust with Chairman Kim Jong-Un, shared the bright future beyond denuclearization and urging North Korea to act. It's a new approach. I would like to pay tribute to his new approach. Most important thing is the solution of abduction issue.

And it means that I have to directly see Chairman Kim face to face without attaching any conditions. I meet him and then frankly, and I must have discussion in complete candor. At the summit talk today, my resolution as such, President Trump expressed that he will give all out support. He will spare no efforts in rendering assistance to my efforts.

[02:20:11] It was a very strong support. President Trump and family members of abducted victims had a meeting. And President Trump would look into the eyes of the family members directly and he was listening to the remarks very seriously. We have to resolve this abduction issue. This is the thought that I have, which was shared by President Trump. Once again, looking toward the resolution of the abduction issue, I would like to pay tribute and gratitude to the lavish understanding and support.

Now, including the points that you asked on the topic of the summit talk between Japan and North Korea, as of now, there is no specific goal in sight. But based upon the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang declaration, we want to solve comprehensive issues, pending issues like abduction, nuclear missiles. We must come to terms with the unfortunate past. And we must normalize the (Inaudible) relations.

This line is unchanged. Abduction issue is the most important issue for the Abe administration. Family members of abductees have advanced in their age. As the president of the LDP, I have certain term -- your question sort of inclined, and also a one-time meeting could resolve the issue you asked. Irrespective of my term in office, I have to do everything I can, all out efforts of myself for the resolution of this issue.

As the prime minister, I have responsibility as such. Going forward, I will discharge this responsibility. And in order to do that as the prime minister, day in and day out, I will do my best and all our efforts.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States' first question will go Vivian (Inaudible) of the Wall Street Journal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Sarah, Mr. President, Prime Minister. Mr. President, I hope you'll in indulge me with two questions since we're far from home. The first one is -- so if Kim Jong-Un is not violating his promise to you by firing small weapons, as you said in your tweet yesterday, what would you consider a violation exactly?

TRUMP: First of all, let me say that I think that Kim Jong-Un or Chairman Kim, as some people say, is looking to create a nation that has great strength economically. I think he's very much -- I talk to him a lot about it. And he's very much into the fact that he believes, like I do, that North Korea has tremendous economic potential, like, perhaps few other developing nations anywhere in the world.

And I think that he is looking to develop that way. He knows that with nuclear that's never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well. So I think that he is going to try at some point. I am in no rush at all. The sanctions remain. We have our hostages back. We, as you know, are continuing to get the remains. A lot of good things are happening.

And very importantly, there's been no nuclear testing for two years. I looked at a chart the other day. During the past administrations, there were many numbers that were very high, like, 10, 12, 18, having to do with missile launches and nuclear testing. And for the last two years, on the bottom it had zero and zero. So I am very happy with the way it's going. And intelligent people agree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not bothered at all by the small missiles?

TRUMP: No, I am not. I am pursuing that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, thank you. One more question, Mr. President. Last week, you declared that you won't work with Democrats in Congress until they stop investigating you. So how are you going to explain to your voters when it comes at the expense of some of the promises that you've made to them?

TRUMP: Well, there's never been a president more transparent. The Mueller report came out, no obstruction, no collusion, no nothing. It's a beautiful report. The Democrats cannot understand what happened. They really thought they had some people on their side. Because as you know, the people doing the investigation were 18 extremely angry Democrats, many of whom worked for Hillary Clinton and supported Hillary Clinton.

[02:24:56] And Bob Mueller, I guess you could say he wasn't a friend of mine. But he did something that was really the right thing to do. They were very disappointed. They can't get over the fact that I never spoke to Russia, never dealt with Russia, having to do with the subject we're talking about. And I will say this, that without question, we have done a job like few presidents have done.

The only thing you can say about me, that some people may not like, is that I have created one of the greatest economies anywhere in the world. In fact, when I first met with -- yesterday with Prime Minister Abe, the first thing he did was congratulate me on the incredible economy that we have in the United States. So I think that we will work with them. We have a USMCA. We have a deal with Canada and Mexico that everybody wants.

It's all done. And I think they probably want to be doing that. As you know, Ambassador Lighthizer is here right now. That's a deal that's gotten universal praise. Unions love it. Farmers love it. Manufacturers love it. You won't have companies leaving and going to Mexico and going Canada and going like they were for many, many years. It's a great deal. I would imagine that Nancy Pelosi will approve that.

I would think it would be very hard not to, but we'll see. But certainly as things get approved, I would love to sign them. It's only good for our country. I'm only interested in what's good for our country. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Prime minister, I hope you'll also indulge me with two questions since I'm far from home. Did you get any reassurances today from President Trump that he will not impose tariffs on cars or auto parts six months from now?

TRUMP: I want to hear this answer, too.

ABE: Last year in September, between President Trump and I agreed on joint statement regarding -- including auto and auto parts currently based upon the joint statement of September, the Minister Motegi Ambassador Lighthizer are discussing and talking about this matter. So we agreed to accelerate the talk as such. And that was the agreement I reached with President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My second question. I left my translator, so --

TRUMP: That's about four. I think probably that's enough. I think your compatriots will not be happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once again, a question from the Japanese media, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question to Prime Minister Abe about the U.S.-Japan trade agreement. Before the election, there were some voices that expressed from some trade organizations. Now the tariff level, the maximum that you can have is at the same of TPP. Is that unchanged? Now, regarding the calendar, in the beginning of the talks, in August, there could be a major statement announcement.

Prime minister, that was the comment of President Trump, do you agree with him? And in today's talk, what was the time frame? What was the scheduling of those matters between the U.S. and Japan trade friction or trade debate is happening. What was the outlook on that relationship for Japan? Is there any mitigating role that Japan can take?

ABE: Two questions, I guess. Last year in September, President Trump and I agreed on the joint statement. Based upon that, Minister Motegi and Ambassador Lighthizer, USTR, are vigorously conducting discussions and talks. This time around, Minister Motegi and Ambassador Lighthizer, between them, I think quite in depth discussion was held. With President Trump, we agreed that (Inaudible) accelerate talks between the ministers.

So we have a joint statement. And that must be the ground premise upon which we must create win-win result, which would be beneficial to both nations. That is my thinking. Now, the next point of the question, U.S.-China trade negotiation. I think that was the question. So I know U.S. relationships respectively. They occupy number one and number two economic powerful position of the world.

Between the two countries, stable economic relationship is built. That would benefit not only Japan, but the Asian countries and to the whole world. It's very important that there be stable economic relationships. With a view as such, I hope that continuously, U.S. and China will go through dialogue in order to seek constructive solution of the problem.


Today, with the President, we discussed economic issues. And global economy was something that we also addressed. There are a variety of challenges in the global economy we discussed in today's talk.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very importantly, I have nothing to do with TPP. OK? Nothing to do. I'm not bound by anything that anybody else signed with respect to the United States. TPP would've destroyed our automobile industry and many of our manufactures. We are not involved in TPP. So, what other countries agreed too, it's not binding at all in the United States.

As far as China is concerned, they want to make a deal, I think they probably wish they made the deal that they had on the table before they tried renegotiate it. They would like to make a deal, were not ready to make a deal and we're taking in tens of billions of dollars of tariffs, and that number could go up very, very substantially, very easily. But, I think sometime in the future, China and the United States will absolutely have a great trade deal. And we look forward to it. Ok? Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: United States. Second question goes to Jeff Mason of Reuters.

TRUMP: Yes, sure Jeff.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Thank you sir. Um, I'm going to follow Vivian's lead and ask two questions, if I can. First is a follow-up on trade. Can you layout, specifically, Mr. President what japan needs to do, to avoid the auto tariffs and before you come back to the G20 in another month or so, do you expect talks with China to get back on track this year at all? TRUMP: First of, all getting to the G20. I think that we are a very

much discussing different things with Japan. We have an unbelievably large imbalances, you know, trade imbalance, which has been there for many, many years, Japan having the big advantage. They are brilliant business people, brilliant negotiators, and put us in a very tough spot. But I think we will have a deal with Japan.

Likewise, I think we will have a deal with China sometime into the future. Many companies are leaving China right now because of the tariffs. You know, China is subsidizing a lot of industry, because, you know, foolishly, some people said that, the American taxpayers paying the tariffs of China, no, no, no. It's not that way, they're paying a small percentage, but our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars.

Our farmers, out of all that money, the tens of billions of dollars we're giving a relatively small percentage to our farmers, who have really been a focal point of what's going on with trade. As you know, they've earmarked and they've gone after the farmer, thinking that it would hurt the farmer. I'm going to negotiate a bad deal for the rest of the country. I'll tell you the American farmer, these are patriot. These are great patriots.

They don't want subsidy. We've had meetings, and I've had meetings with 32, 35, 40 farmers, at one time. Numerous times, and they don't want subsidy. I've told that to you before, Jeff. They want a level playing field, that's all they want. Because they're better than anybody in the world and they told me, I said, you know, I'm going to get you subsidy, while China takes advantage of us and China takes advantage of you, buy pinpointing you.

They say we don't subsidies sir, all we just want is a laying play -- it really a level playing field. The American farmer, these are great patriots. They're unbelievable people and they're with me 100 percent. I believe that we will have a very good deal with China, sometime into the future. Because I don't believe that China could continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs, I don't believe they can do that.

You know, businesses are leaving China, by the hundreds, by the thousands, going into areas that are none tariff, including the United States by the way. But they're going to different parts of Asia, Vietnam, frankly Japan, but they are going to a lot of places, but they're also coming to the United States, because don't want to pay the tariff. And if you look, there is no tariff to pay.

All you have to do is move your company to the United States, there is no 25 percent tariff. But with all of that being said, I think that there's a very good chance that the United States and China will have a very good trade deal.

MASON: Mr. President, follow-up on North Korea you tweeted about North Korea yesterday. Do you believe that they violated U.N. resolutions with the short range missile launch and as to give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator, instead of with a fellow American, the former Vice President Joe Biden? [02:35:12] TRUMP: Well, Kim Jong-un made a statement that Joe Biden

is a low I.Q. individual, he probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that. But, at the same time, my people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently. I viewed as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. And perhaps not, who knows? It doesn't matter.

All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests.

There have been no ballistic missiles going out, there have been no long range missiles going out. And, I think that someday will have a deal. I'm not in a rush. Tremendous sanctions being put on the country of North Korea, and again, Kim Jong-un understands the unbelievable economic potential that country has. It's located between Russia and China on one side and South Korea on the other.

And it's all water front property. It's a great location, as we use to say in the real estate business. And I think he sees that. And I have to tell you one other country I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal. And I think that's very smart of them, and I think that's a possibility to happen also.

MASON: But, in terms of criticism that you're sort of supporting a dictator instead of an American vice president?

TRUMP: Well, when I look at what's been done by our Vice President and the President, when I look at the horrible Iran deal that they made, look what happened since I terminated the Iran deal. Look what has happened to Iran. Iran, when I first came into office, was a terror. They were fighting in many locations all over the Middle East. They were behind every single major attack, whether with it was Syria, whether it was Yemen, whether it was individual smaller areas, whether it was taking away oil from people.

They were involved with everything. Now they're pulling back because they've got serious economic problems, we have massive. As you know, massive sanctions and other things, I mean, we just said the other day, steel, copper, different elements of what they used to sell, the oil is essentially dried up and I'm not looking that to hurt Iran at all, I'm looking to have Iran say, no nuclear weapons.

We have enough problems in this world right now with nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons for Iran. And I think we'll make a deal, I think Iran. Again, I think Iran has tremendous economic potential. And I look forward to letting them get back to the stage where they can show that. I think Iran, I know so many people from Iran. These are great people. It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership. We're not looking for regime change.

I just want to make that clear. We're looking for no nuclear weapons. If you look at the deal that Biden and President Obama signed, they would have access, free access to nuclear weapons where they wouldn't even be in violation and just a very short period of time. What kind of a deal is that?

So, we can have that. Plus, there were many other things they did that were very best. So, I don't take sides to who I'm in favor, who I'm not, but I can tell you that Joe Biden was a disaster, he's administration with President Obama, they were basically a disaster, when it came to so many things. Whether it was economy, whether it was military defense, no matter what it was, they had a lot of problems. So, I'm not a fan.

MASON: One question from the Prime Minister, sir. Do you share President Trump's optimism about North Korea and his position about a recent of missile launches, and also could you tell us and perhaps tell us what you told the President, what you expect or would like to achieve if you travel to Iran and hold talks with Iran?

ABE: President Trump conducted summit meetings with North Korea together with Chairman Kim. He agreed on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and signed the document, although it was a great significance in that. He cracked open the shell of distrust, so that the future, bright future can be shared and urge North Korea to act accordingly but this was a new approach which I will come.

Of course the North Korea and denuclearization for many years this was not achieved. But precisely because it was not achieved difficult as it is. President Trump just said that he will make a challenge with a new approach.

[02:40:00] ABE: So, we are neighbor to North Korea. We are most threatened among countries. So, as a Prime Minister of such a country, such acts of a Prime Minister, and President Trump and policy, I have a trust in it. And I would like to support. It in this context, the abduction issue is a paramount importance. In Hanoi, at the summit talk in Hanoi. President Trump on behalf of my thinking, he conveyed and communicated my thinking to Kim Jong-un.

And I, as well as the country of Japan are thankful. A moment ago, President Trump met with the family members of the abductees and the family members were very appreciative of the President Trump. So, his approach is something that everybody wants to have hope. So, that was the view of the families of the abductees. Now, the launching of the missiles this time on the 9th of May, North Korea launched the short range ballistic missiles.

This is violating the U.N. Security Council resolution. So, my reaction is, as I said earlier on, it is a great regret. But at the same time between Kim Jong-un and president Trump, certain new approach was taken. And that is something that I'd like to pay tribute too. In any event, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the goal, so the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Europe and other countries will act in cooperation, so that the U.S. and North Korea process would be supported.

MASON (through translator): What about Iran? There was a question about Iran?

ABE: Regarding Iran. Regarding the JCPA, we have expressed our position at appropriate timing, peace and stability of the Middle East is very important for Japan and the United States and also for the international community as a whole, it's very important. In this context, in order to make contribution for the peace and stability of the region, we would like to discharge whatever we can do.

So, whatever it is possible for Japan to do, we absolutely would like to do this. Going forward between Japan and the United States, there should be a close collaboration, so that these tension surrounding Iran can should be mitigated and alleviate it and it shouldn't culminate in the armed conflict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thank you very much. With this we will conclude the press conference -- joint conference with President Trump and Prime Minister Abe. Thank you very much, please remain seated while, until the leaders exit the room.

ABE: Thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe alongside the U.S. President Donald Trump, again during his four-day state visit, the two speaking on a range of issues. President Trump, speaking about the relationship between the U.S. and Japan describing it, as steadfast and ironclad, also speaking on the issue of security, the issue of trade, North Korea and also an issue important to the Japanese Prime Minister and Japan families that have been abducted by North Korea.

Mr. Trump also speaking about the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. And speaking about how he is open to talks with Iran. Let's now bring CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson. Ivan has been following this news conference as well. And Ivan it was very interesting as well to hear that the Japanese Prime Minister says that he is open too, and would like to have talks with it focusing in there have talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong- un.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's not the first time the Japanese Prime Minister has said this and he repeated it, he repeatedly gave tribute to President Trump for as Abe put it, cracking the shell of distrust with this new approach of direct face- to-face diplomacy with the North Korean dictator. But also, thank President Trump for making the issue of Japanese citizens, allegedly abducted by North Korea a central part of that diplomacy.

[02:45:03] When asked about the missile launches that were carried out by North Korea just on May 9th, short-range ballistic launches. The Japanese prime minister said directly that this was a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, President Trump said that -- yes, he acknowledged that members of his own administration feel the same way but that he doesn't see this as a problem. Clearly, he is more invested in that face-to-face diplomacy with Kim Jong-un than in the violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

President Trump said he insists that he is patient. That he wants a deal with North Korea but he's willing to wait and to keep the sanctions in place until that deal is reached. So, with there are clearly some divergent group -- views on how to interpret those recent ballistic missile launches between Shinzo Abe and President Trump, but both leaders are in agreement that this is a potentially positive way forward.

And certainly, if President Trump continues to raise the issue of abducted Japanese citizens in his face-to-face discussions with the North Koreans. George.

[02:46:29] HOWELL: Ivan, that's the issue certainly of security in North Korea. President Trump and the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also talking about trade.

Mr. Trump pointing out that he would like to see the United States gain ground when it comes to U.S. exports to Japan. But also, hearing some positive news from the Japanese prime minister pointing out that Japan -- Japanese companies have invested, he says, $24 billion to the United States with 45,000 new jobs.

WATSON: Yes, and this is something that actually President Trump asked Shinzo Abe to speak about in front of journalists before they went into the bilateral talks, but the translators weren't able to catch up in time, and the Japanese hosts assured out the press before the prime minister was able to comment further on this.

But the prime minister said that even between the last time that he and President Trump met face to face in Washington last month and today that, he says, that Japan invested another billion dollars in the U.S. economy.

So, this is clearly seen as a bright spot between the two leaders even though there are still areas where they are not in agreement, as President Trump pointed out that there is still a trade imbalance. Japan still enjoys a trade surplus.

So, while there's disagreement in that area and President Trump has made it clear he wants this fixed somehow and improved in the U.S.'s favor, there are areas bright spots that both leaders enjoy.

Another area that was raised in the -- in the area of trade was the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. And the Japanese prime minister indicated that when there is a trade war like this -- that this hurts the global economy. It hurts Japan's economy.

In fact, the Japanese government has indicated that its forecasts for the Japanese economy are worsening in part due to this trade war. That is something that it would like improved. And President Trump said he is optimistic that China wants a deal with the U.S., and that this trade war he claims is hurting China more than it's hurting the U.S.

We'll just have to see where that goes. We'll be watching because the leaders of Japan, China, and the U.S. are expected to gather in Osaka in Japan next month for the G20. George?

HOWELL: Ivan Watson following this for us in Tokyo. Ivan, thank you. ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: All right. We do want to bring in our Pamela Brown. She was there in the room as this joint news conference took place. So, Pam, talked to us about this situation. Can you hear us OK? Just nod if you can hear us.

Right. So, basically what we saw is the two leaders there U.S. President Trump and Shinzo Abe making -- at pains in actual fact to make it clear that their relationship was unshakable, it was ironclad, but we do know that problems persist, don't they, between the two nations. We saw that for other, Shinzo Abe, very much the abduction. Say his number one issue.

And then when we listen to President Trump, he very much downplayed the situation as far as missile launches with the North Korea. So, talk to us about whether they can reach some point of agreement on that particular issue.

[02:50:17] PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right. It was a delicate dance when it came to North Korea because the two leaders wanted to appear united on all things. But it was very clear there are cracks and they're not in the same page when it comes to North Korea.

Now, Prime Minister Abe, started off, saying that he appreciates the president's new approach with North Korea. He hopes that there can be peace in the area on the peninsula. But then he was asked directly about whether he shares President Trump's optimistic view on North Korea? Particularly, in the wake of the short-range missile testing. And the prime minister said bluntly that what happened recently with that testing was a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Now, President Trump was asked the same question whether it was a violation. When he was asked the first time, he didn't answer it directly. He just said that the missile testing didn't bother him because it wasn't long-range. The intercontinental ballistic testing and that nuclear testing had been put on hold the last couple of years, so that's really what he focused on.

But then, a reporter followed up with him on the matter and President Trump said, "Well, some of my people do believe that it is a violation but basically I'm not bothered by it, I have faith in Kim Jong-un."

And so, there was a clear split from the two leaders on that matter in particular. And as President Trump was walking away, I had the opportunity to ask him whether he still has confidence in his own national security advisor John Bolton? Because as you know, just yesterday in Japan, Bolton said -- agreed with the Japanese that it was a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

But President Trump in response to my question nodded and he said, yes, he does still have confidence in him. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Our Pamela Brown, joining us there live from Tokyo in that very room where President Trump and Shinzo Abe a held their joint news conference. We're going to take a very short break. We'll continue to cover this story and many others when we come back. Do stay with us.


[02:56:04] HOWELL: Welcome back. After the last 40 minutes, we saw the U.S. President Donald Trump alongside the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. And the two leaders discussed a range of issues, everything from security between these two nations, to trade. Also, an issue that was very important there for the Japanese prime minister and Japan, the issue of families abducted by North Korea. North Korea, a major topic.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And Shinzo Abe made it clear that, that was his number one issue that wasn't necessarily shared by Donald Trump. He was very much emphasizing trade and downplaying the missile launches of North Korea, and that could very well going forward be a real sticking point for the two countries and the two leaders. But they still trying to work out, trade, military ties, and North Korea.

HOWELL: The news continues here on CNN right after the break. Stand by.

CHURCH: Do stay with us.