Published: Mon, February 18, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Abe Is Tight-Lipped On Trump Nobel Prize Nomination Claim

Abe Is Tight-Lipped On Trump Nobel Prize Nomination Claim

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined on Monday to comment on a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that he'd nominated the American leader for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but did not deny the assertion, instead praising Trump's efforts to defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported Sunday, citing unidentified government sources, that Abe had nominated Trump at the US president's request.

Abe, who has worked hard to build a personal rapport with Trump, walked a fine line during a parliamentary committee meeting Monday when asked about Trump's claim from Friday that the Japanese leader had put his name forward for the prize.

Trump told a news conference at the White House on February 15 that Abe gave him a copy of the letter he had written to the Nobel Committee to nominate the USA president for the prize on behalf of Japan. He said Abe sent the nomination because Japan now feels "good" and "safe" after North Korean ballistic missile launches ceased. "I'll probably never get it, but that's okay".

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 7, 2018.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. He said, 'Oh, what did I get it for?' " Mr Trump grumbled.

Trump also complained about his predecessor Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and doubted he would be similarly honored.

"If you believe the current situation in Northeast Asia is peaceful, I think it's a problem", Tamaki said. "The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations can not be revealed until 50 years later".

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Junya Ogawa, another opposition lawmaker, cited various policies and actions by Trump that he said ran contrary to the spirit of the peace prize, calling the nomination "an embarrassment for Japan".

"So it's President Moon's thinking that he fully deserves the Nobel Peace Prize".

Trump said early exchanges with Kim were filled with "fire and fury", but that the two have established a good relationship since their first meeting a year ago in Singapore.

"You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan", Trump said.

Mr Trump became the first sitting United States president to hold a summit with a North Korean leader when he met Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June a year ago.

A second summit between the two leaders is due to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, later this month.

"North Korea summit talks", he said. "None of the abduction, nuclear and missile issues were resolved", including those involving short- to medium-range ballistic missiles that are capable of directly hitting Japan, Tamaki said.

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