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Trump is good listener, frank: Japan PM

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Tokyo:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that US President Donald Trump is a “good listener”, as well as “friendly and open”, the media reported. “President Trump is surprisingly a good listener though it may seem that he isn’t. He’s also very frank and open. But he’s very committed to his campaign pledges,” Abe told public broadcaster NHK in an interview on Monday. During the interview, Abe spoke of his meetings in the US over the weekend with Trump, in which they discussed security issues such as Washington’s stance over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a point of conflict and contention between Tokyo and Beijing.

Trump had previously suggested that Japan should pay more to maintain a US military presence in Japan. But Abe said the US President did not mention the issue during their meeting. “Defence Secretary Mattis visited Japan and said the Japanese and American cost-sharing model is an example for other nations to follow. I think that settled the issue. We were wondering whether President Trump would mention the matter, but he didn’t. Rather, he thanked Japan for the warm hospitality extended to the US Marine Corps,” the Prime Minister said.

He also discussed the North Korea’s latest missile test on Sunday, while he was still with President Trump at his resort in Florida. “President (Barack) Obama was very cautious about using military force against North Korea, calling his stance ‘strategic patience’. I believe the Trump Administration is aiming to review the stance and seek a diplomatic solution, putting all options on the table,” Abe said. The premier also believes that the Trump administration will renew its stance towards China and Russia.

“I think the US government is in the process of establishing its foreign policy against China. Right before our summit, President Trump talked for one hour over the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The timing was very good for me. President Trump and I were able to discuss how to deal with China, taking into consideration what the leaders of the US and China talked about and various other factors.” “I have also insisted that dialogue between the US and Russia is essential for resolving the issues of Syria, the Middle East, Iran and Ukraine.”  President Trump plans to hold a close dialogue with Russia,” Abe concluded.

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State of emergency declared in Chile

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Santiago, Chile: Angry mobs of protesters smashed train stations and set fire to buildings as violence swept through Santiago after a hike in metro fares.

Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s president, declared a state of emergency in the capital after widespread arson and clashes with police in the heart of South America’s wealthiest country.

On Friday night Santiago was shrouded in smoke as the high-rise headquarters of energy company Enel was engulfed in flames and authorities battled fires at metro stops and banks across the city.

The state of emergency, established by Chile’s dictatorship-era constitution, grants the government additional powers to restrict freedom of movement and citizens’ right to assembly.

“I have declared a state of emergency and, to that end, I have appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense, in accordance with the provisions of our state of emergency legislation,” President Sebastian Pinera said.

The unrest started as a fare-dodging protest against the hike in metro ticket prices, which increased from 800 to 830 peso ($1.17) for peak hour travel, following a 20 peso rise in January.

Attacks on metro stations forced the closure of the entire subway system, which is the key form of public transport in the congested and polluted capital, carrying three million passengers a day.

Almost all public transport was paralysed in Santiago, with shops shuttered and many flights cancelled at the international airport, leaving thousands of people stranded and unable to leave due to the curfew, which was also extended for a second night.

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