Before leaving for the G20 summit in Japan, President Donald Trump complained about the defense pact between the two countries, taking also the opportunity to lash out at some member countries for what he said was their practice of using the United States as their “piggy bank.”
Trump said that some close U.S. allies, including Japan, Germany, and Canada, abused the U.S. regarding trade and defense. He expressed particular dissatisfaction with a defense pact reached with Japan after World War II that obliges the United States to defend Japan should it be attacked while allowing the U.S. at the same time to have a military presence on the island country.
“If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. We will go in and protect them with our lives and with our treasure,” Trump said during an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “But if we are attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch on a Sony television, the attack.”
It was reported earlier in the week that Trump was privately considering leaving the treaty, which would significantly diminish its influence in Asia and leave Japan vulnerable to nuclear threats from neighboring nations, ABC News writes.
The White House refused to comment, but a senior Japanese official said the report was false and the U.S. remained committed its promises.
“There is no such talk as is mentioned in the report. We have confirmed with the U.S. president that it is inconsistent with the American government’s position,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
“We asked about this pact to the White House, and they totally denied such a fact and said such a report is not based on fact,” said another Japanese official.
However, the President’s comments cast a shadow on the White House’s denial, although Trump made no mention of even considering leaving the treaty.
At the G20 summit, President Trump will most likely meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discuss trade and regional geopolitical concerns, like North Korea.
The President blasted other countries and some of their leaders as well, even suggesting that one of them “hates the United States.” He also voiced his belief that Canada, too, took advantage of the U.S.