Abe mum on backing Trump for Nobel prize

TOKYO • Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (picture) declined to say whether he nominated Donald Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize, while praising the US President for “decisive” efforts to resolve the problems of a nuclear-armed North Korea.

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

“I am not saying it’s not true,” he told an Opposition lawmaker, adding that the Nobel committee doesn’t reveal nominations and he would refrain from commenting.

Abe praised Trump for his diplomacy with North Korea and helping to protect Japan, which relies on the US military for its defence. “President Trump has acted decisively toward resolving the issues of the North Korean nuclear and missile problems,” he said.

Japanese Opposition lawmaker Junya Ogawa told Parliament yesterday that it was “shameful for Japan” to be nominating Trump for the prize. The US president had disrupted the world order by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, breaking a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran and other acts, he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is pushing to improve ties with North Korea, weighed in yesterday, saying through a spokesman that Trump deserved the prize.

“The president has repea-tedly emphasised that President Trump’s leadership and decisiveness have played a crucial role in establishing peace on the Korean peninsula, so it is President Moon’s belief that he well deserves the Nobel Peace Prize,” Kim Eui-keum, said at a briefing yesterday.

Trump plans a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Feb 27-28 after an unprecedented meeting last year. — Bloomberg