See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Trump becomes first US leader to inspect Japanese warship

Analysts say its a show of solidarity with Abe.


Written by

Updated: May 29, 2019

Visiting United States President Donald Trump became the first US Commander-in-Chief to step on board a Japanese warship on Tuesday (May 28), in what the two wartime foes held up as a sign of their ironclad bond as security allies today.

Together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr Trump inspected the JS Kaga at the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.

The JS Kaga is one of Japan’s two largest Izumo-class warships. It will modify these helicopter destroyers into its first aircraft carriers since World War II, in a significant defence upgrade that will allow it to handle short take-off and vertical landing F-35B fighter jets.

Experts believe it was a political manoeuvre that showcases how far the two countries have come to build an alliance that is the bedrock of regional security and the centrepiece of their Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision.

Their joint inspection of the Kaga came just before Mr Trump celebrated Memorial Day with US servicemen – and without Mr Abe – on board the US warship Wasp, docked at the neighbouring US Naval base in Yokosuka.

“This is the only port in the world where a US Naval fleet and an Allied Naval fleet are working side by side with each other,” he said, with Mr Abe beside him on JS Kaga’s hangar deck.

“With this extraordinary new equipment, the Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond,” he added, in remarks to 500 active service personnel from both the US Navy and the MSDF.

Mr Trump extended his condolences to the victims and family members of a stabbing rampage near Tokyo on Tuesday (May 28): “All Americans stand with the people of Japan and grieve for the victims and for their families.”

A 11-year-old girl and a 39-year-old man died in the attack, while at least 16 others were injured. The 51-year-old culprit died of a self-inflicted wound.

Meanwhile, Mr Abe, in his remarks, described the Japan-US security alliance as beneficial for the “international public good”.

“The JS Kaga sailed through a vast area from the western Pacific through the Indian Ocean last year, to deepen the cooperation with navies of regional regional partners in close coordination with the US Navy,” he said, referring to a mission that took the warship through the South China Sea, much of which is claimed by Beijing.

“Our mission is to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to establish a foundation for regional peace and prosperity.”

Later, on the USS Wasp, Mr Trump told the US troops: “We have to protect our country. We have to protect our allies.

“You face down terrorism and render aid in the wake of devastating natural disasters. You proudly patrol the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan (or East Sea), the East China Sea and the South China Sea.”

In what may be seen as a warning shot to China, Mr Trump vowed to further ramp up military spending that amounted to US$716 billion (S$986 billion) last year. The budget will be spent on equipment including five guided missile destroyers, four nuclear-powered fast attack submarines and 163 F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets.

He also praised Tokyo’s plans to purchase 105 new F-35 aircraft – first spelt out in Japan’s revised national defence programme guidelines last December – that will give Japan the largest F-35 fleet of any US ally.

Together with Japan, he said, US service personnel are “advancing freedom on the high seas, shielding our nation from dangerous weapons and preserving the peace that generations of valiant American warriors gave their lives to secure”.

Mr Trump left Japan at about 1pm (12pm Singapore time) on Tuesday, concluding a four-day state visit during which he and his wife Melania had an audience with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako as the first state guests of the new Reiwa (beautiful harmony) era.

On his trip, the US leader also played golf and watched a sumo wrestling tournament with Mr Abe, with whom he also discussed such issues as trade and North Korea.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

More changes friendly to foreign investors on way in China

China is courting more FDI as their cash reserves run lower. China will roll out more measures friendly to foreign investors, including further removing business restrictions and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses, to foster a more enabling business environment and attract overseas investment. The decision was made on Wednesday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Meeting participants decided to open up more areas. Restrictive measures outside the national and FTZ negative lists on foreign investors’ market access will be consolidated. Restrictions will be lifted on the business scope for those foreign-invested banks, securities companies and fund management firms that are already operating in China. Policies on foreign investment in the automobile industry will be refined, including giving equal treatment in market access to domestic and foreig


By China Daily
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore’s 4G leadership lays out plans to take relationship with China ‘to a higher level’

The two countries share a close relationship. Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership has a comprehensive plan for engaging with China economically and plugging into the East Asian giant’s rapid development. Ten members of the “4G” cohort drove home this point as they spoke with Singapore media at the end of a bilateral meeting in Chongqing on Tuesday (Oct 15) that was of particular significance, as the Singapore team was composed fully of this new generation of political leaders. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat led the Singapore delegation as he co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest-level bilateral platform between Singapore and China. Mr Heng, who took over the reins from former DPM Teo Chee Hean earlier this year, said his first meeting in the new role was forward-looking and productive, and that he took the opportunity to “


By The Straits Times
October 16, 2019