WASHINGTON — President Trump plans on Friday to pledge close security and economic cooperation with Japan, opening an elaborate multiday work-and-play visit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that is intended to showcase a warm rapport with a central player in Asia.
During an Oval Office meeting and a working lunch in the State Dining Room of the White House, Mr. Trump is expected to discuss trade and job creation initiatives with Mr. Abe and offer him strong assurances about the United States’ commitment to Japan’s security, senior administration officials said on Thursday.
The visit, Mr. Trump’s second with a head of government since being sworn in last month, is an opportunity for the president to highlight a positive dynamic with a leader with whom he has already developed a relationship. But it could prove awkward, after a show of détente on Thursday night between Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China.
Among the topics of discussion will be whether, and how, to pursue a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan after Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade deal between the United States and 11 nations that had included Japan.
Mr. Trump also plans to try to dispel doubts about his commitment to a mutual defense treaty with Japan that surfaced during his campaign, when he said he was prepared to pull back from the pact unless Tokyo did more to reimburse the United States for defending Japanese territory.
Mr. Trump is expected on Friday to reaffirm his support for the treaty, as his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, did during a visit to Tokyo last week, and make clear that it extends to disputed islands in the East China Sea, known in Japan as the Senkaku and in China as the Diaoyu, the officials said.
Mr. Abe is also likely to have questions for Mr. Trump about his provocative statements related to Japan, including his warning to Toyota on Twitter that he would slap a “big border tax” on the carmaker if it built a new plant in Mexico and his charges that Japan devalues its currency to gain economic advantage.
Mr. Abe was the first foreign leader to visit Mr. Trump after his election in November, and they have spoken a number of times since then, according to the officials, who previewed the visit on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the talks.
By contrast, the president has gotten off to a chilly start with Mr. Xi, who was angered by Mr. Trump’s decision in November to take a congratulatory call from the president of Taiwan — which China considers a breakaway province — and his subsequent questioning of the “One China” policy. Mr. Trump had a fence-mending call with Mr. Xi on Thursday night and agreed during what the White House called an “extremely cordial” conversation to honor the One China policy at the Chinese leader’s request.
Mr. Abe’s visit could fuel suspicions in Beijing that Mr. Trump intends to make Japan, rather than China, the focal point of his engagement with Asia. That would be a distinct shift from former President Barack Obama, who hosted Mr. Xi in 2013 for an informal summit meeting at the 200-acre Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Mr. Trump’s extended meeting with Mr. Abe, combining business and pleasure, follows Mr. Trump’s first few weeks in office that have been marked by tense exchanges with longstanding United States allies including Mexico, Australia and Germany.
After a news conference and a working lunch at the White House on Friday, the two leaders will board Air Force One and fly to Palm Beach, Fla., where they plan to repair to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s club, for dinner with their wives and a weekend of relaxation. They will spend Saturday playing golf together, the officials said.
A White House official said Mr. Trump was paying for Mr. Abe and his wife to travel to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend, as a “gift” to the leader. That eliminates potential ethics questions the visit would otherwise pose for Mr. Trump, who has pledged to contribute to the United States Treasury any profits from foreign visitors to his company’s properties.
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