Economic talks between the United States and Japan, tackling topics from persimmons and potatoes to energy and infrastructure, have helped keep Tokyo clear of protectionist moves such as those that recently hit Chinese solar panels and South Korean washers. Japan hopes that “let’s talk” approach – plus warm personal ties between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump – will keep friction in check. But officials and lawmakers say the outlook could change if the unpredictable U.S. leader turns his attention to Tokyo’s 7 trillion yen ($63.62 billion)trade surplus ahead of U.S. congressional elections in November. Also efforts to showcase the U.S.-Japan security alliance in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats will probably take precedence over trade when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits Japan from Tuesday, officials on both sides said.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they did not pursue peace with Israel, saying they had snubbed the United States by not meeting Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit.Trump, speaking after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum, said he wanted peace. However, his remarks could further frustrate the aim of reviving long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks. Palestinians shunned Pence’s visit to the region this month after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to begin moving the U.S. embassy to the city, whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a fresh display of Western discord over Middle East peace efforts, the United States said on Monday its Israel embassy would move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, while its European Union allies voiced support for East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. Vice-President Mike Pence, visiting Jerusalem, announced the timing of the move in a speech to Israel’s parliament, earning applause from Israeli legislators but also stirring a brief protest by Israeli Arab lawmakers, who held signs reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”.