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Trump pays highest respect to Abe

US President Donald Trump said Friday he pays his highest respect to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (AFP)
US President Donald Trump said Friday he pays his highest respect to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (AFP)
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29 Aug 2020 03:08:15 GMT9
29 Aug 2020 03:08:15 GMT9

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Friday he pays his highest respect to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his resignation for health reasons earlier in the day.

“I want to pay my highest respect to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a very great friend of mine,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way back to Washington from New Hampshire, praising the outgoing Japanese leader as a “great gentleman.”

“We’ve had a great relationship and I just feel very badly about it, because it must be very severe for him to leave,” Trump said. “He loves his country so much and for him to leave, you know, I just can’t imagine what it is.”

Referring to Abe’s resignation, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Twitter that “I am grateful for your friendship and leadership.”

“I’m sad to see you step down, but I know the strong alliance between our countries and peoples will continue for generations to come,” Biden said. “Wishing you good health in the years ahead, my friend.”

A senior Trump administration official praised Abe for strengthening the Japan-US alliance. Together with Trump, Abe has made the alliance “the strongest it has ever been,” the official said.

“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Abe’s successor in further strengthening our nations’ ties and advancing our shared goals,” the administration official said. 

Zack Cooper, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative US think tank, said that Abe’s resignation “is going to be a major adjustment for the United States” after nearly eight years of his stable political leadership in Japan.

Abe achieved many major reforms that have tightened the alliance, including enacting a new alliance coordination mechanism, Cooper said.

“I suspect that historians will look back at this time as the most important series of reforms to the US-Japan alliance in the post-Cold War period,” Cooper said.

He also said “unfortunately I doubt that any of Abe’ possible successors will have the same close personal relationship with Donald Trump.”

JIJI Press

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