Trump favourite: Abe
Tokyo: Every American President has a favourite foreign leader. For Donald Trump, it seems to be Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The two leaders toasted their "bromance" on Monday as they wrapped up two days of golf, burgers and serious talks on trade and North Korea.
The two men have met face-to-face six times since Trump was elected US President a year ago and had 16 telephone conversations. They've played golf twice, once at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and again on Sunday outside Tokyo.
Abe recalled how his grandfather, then-premier Nobusuke Kishi, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower began the tradition of US-Japan golf diplomacy 60 years ago.
"When you play golf not just once but two times, the person must be your favorite guy," Abe said ahead of a formal banquet with Trump on Monday. He added that never had two Japanese and American leaders forged such a close bond in just one year.
Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump after his election last November, a win that caught Tokyo off guard after many had expected Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton to win and worried about Trump's "America First" rhetoric.
Trump told the dinner guests that for protocol reasons, he shouldn't have met a foreign leader before his inauguration - but when he tried to call Abe to wave him off, the Japanese Premier was already on a plane to New York.
"We have to spend more time together because I enjoyed every minute of it even though he (Abe) is a very tough negotiator," Trump said. "We will be back soon."
Trump and Abe are hardly the only US and Japanese leaders to bond. Ronald Reagan and Yasuhiro Nakasone set the gold-standard for friendly ties between leaders of the two allies.