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Japan’s new premier Suga holds first phone call with Trump

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held his first phone call with US President Donald Trump since taking office last week, with the two agreeing to further strengthen their countries' relationship, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held his first phone call with US President Donald Trump since taking office last week, with the two agreeing to further strengthen their countries’ relationship, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Suga said he told Trump the Japanese-US alliance is “the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region,” in comments to reporters after the Sunday call.

Suga, who has no diplomatic and economic background, was inaugurated as Japan’s premier on Wednesday and vowed to continue his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s policies.

During the 25-minute talk, Suga and Trump also agreed to cooperate on the development and distribution of a vaccine and treatment for the novel coronavirus, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.

Suga asked Trump for Washington’s “continued full support” to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and the 1980s, the ministry said.

Critics argue however it would be impossible for Japan to resolve it without direct negotiations with Pyongyang.

“The two leaders discussed the importance of pursuing our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, continuing to strengthen the United States-Japan Alliance, and working together to strengthen the global economy,” the White House said.

Abe abruptly stepped down due to health issues after seven years and eight months in office.

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