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Aso is trying to build a personal relationship with Trump, anticipating a possible return to the White House

Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taro Aso, right, receives a gold key as a memorial gift from former US President Donald Trump after their meeting on Tuesday in New York, in this photo Trump posted on social media.

NEW YORK – Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taro Aso’s meeting with former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday reflected his hope to build a personal relationship of trust with him as soon as possible.

Aso believes a pipeline with Trump will be crucial to maintaining the bilateral alliance if Trump is re-elected as US president and reinstates the America First policy.

Greeting Aso in the lobby of Trump Tower, Trump told reporters: “He is a highly respected man in Japan and abroad and someone I liked and knew through our very dear friend Shinzo,” referring to the late Prime Minister Shinzo. Abe.

According to sources close to Trump and Aso, Trump showed Aso the view from the tower and treated him to his favorite food, cola and burgers.

Trump asked during their meeting how Prime Minister Fumio Kishida differs from Abe, and Aso responded that Kishida’s cabinet has increased defense spending and given Japan counterattack capabilities.

Abe was more popular, but Kishida delivered real results, Aso said.

Before Aso left the tower, Trump repeatedly said, “I love Japan.” Aso told people around him that the meeting was a great success.

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Aso believes that even if Trump wins the November presidential election and reinstates his America First policy, Japan will be able to exchange views with the United States on an equal basis if he creates a positive impression of Japan early on.

Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump, who had just won the presidential election, in November 2016, leading to a close relationship with Trump.

Aso was also encouraged by the fact that British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Polish President Andrzej Duda and other officials from several countries have visited Trump since early April.

Aso was a close ally of Abe and was a strong supporter of the Kishida government. Aso is an acquaintance of Trump and has accompanied Abe at their summits as deputy prime minister and finance minister in the Abe cabinet.

A senior LDP official said that if Aso were to meet Trump as a party member, rather than in a government position, the meeting would have little impact on relations with US President Joe Biden’s administration.

However, Kishida recently received a warm welcome from Biden on the Japanese prime minister’s first state visit to the US in nine years and deepened ties at their summit. A US government official has therefore said that Aso’s latest move shows a lack of civility.

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