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Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize? Japan’s nomination is part of a strategic plan

18 6 0

JAPAN wants talks with North Korea, and its prime minister thinks Donald Trump can help.

On May 3, North Korea, a nuclear power, launched short-range missiles off its east coast, uncomfortably close to neighboring Japan. It is not the first time North Korea has shot ballistic missiles over, near or into Japanese territory in recent years.

After the most recent test, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called US President Donald Trump – whom he had recently visited in Washington for trade talks – to discuss his intent to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for “unconditional” denuclearisation talks.

Abe’s call to Trump comes several months after Abe apparently nominated Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize in February for his efforts to forge a dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The recommendation was unexpected, given Trump’s aggressive “America first” foreign policy and disdain for multilateral international cooperation. After US talks with North Korea collapsed shortly thereafter, a Nobel nod seemed wholly unwarranted.

SEE ALSO: Trump-Kim’s Hanoi Summit was a disappointment, but all is not lost

While Prime Minister Abe has refused to clarify his reasoning for the nomination, a February 17 article in Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported that the US asked Japan to put Trump’s name forward. Trump has confirmed that Abe nominated him in a “beautiful” five-page letter.

Other world leaders might have turned down that request. But Abe needs US support to achieve many economic, political and foreign policy goals. From my perspective as a Kyoto-based scholar of Japanese politics,........

© Asian Correspondent