Shinzo Abe duels with ‘long hitter’ Donald Trump on golf course

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Kawagoe | Published: November 5, 2017 10:33:08 AM

Golfing buddies Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe teed off for a quick nine holes on Sunday, relaxing ahead of a high-stakes diplomatic summit over the North Korea crisis.

Donald Trump, US president, Shinzo Abe,  Japan, Nobusuke Kishi, Dwight D Eisenhower, US-Japan alliance, Philippines, Hawaii U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters)

Golfing buddies Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe teed off for a quick nine holes on Sunday, relaxing ahead of a high-stakes diplomatic summit over the North Korea crisis. After a business lunch of hamburgers with US beef — a possible cue to discuss trade issues — the pair donned golfing kit for a round at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will host the event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They are playing with Hideki Matsuyama, one of the world’s top golfers, and Trump had warm words for his skills on the plane over. “He is the greatest player in the history of Japan. Possibly their greatest celebrity… He’s a truly great player, a great athlete,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. He described his partner as a “long ball hitter” but could not resist adding: “I hit the ball pretty long.” However, he graciously conceded that Matsuyama was likely to tee off further than him, warning the press of possible fake news. “If I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it.” Inside, the two leaders signed white caps that read, “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater.” Abe and Trump played golf when the Japanese prime minister visited the United States in February, with the Japanese leader keen to stress that his skills were not on a par with Trump’s.

At the time, Trump tweeted a photograph in which he was wearing a white baseball cap and polo shirt, high-fiving Abe who was dressed in white pants and a navy blue cap. The two have enjoyed a near-bromance forged by a shared love of golf. Trump has praised Abe’s “strong hands” and a “very, very good chemistry” between them. When they met at the Country Club, they greeted each other warmly, grasping each other’s elbows under a clear blue Tokyo sky. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Trump said on the plane.

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