Washington, Apr 13 (PTI) The US-Japan summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would focus on the upcoming North Korea talks and the efforts of the two countries to maintain a free and independent Indo-Pacific region, senior administration officials said today.

Trump will be hosting Abe for the second time at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on April 17 and 18.

The meeting includes one-o-one and delegation level talks at the end of which the two leaders are scheduled to address a joint press conference.

The bilateral trade is another issue that is expected to figure prominently between the two leaders.

“The visit is primarily an opportunity for the two leaders to continue their close coordination on North Korea, and to exchange views on the way forward for a summit between President Trump and the leader of North Korea,” a senior Trump administration official told reporters.

“Key topics are likely to include the US and Japan’s shared priorities across the Indo-Pacific region, including how the two countries can work together to ensure universal access to affordable energy, high-quality trade and investment standards, freedom of the seas, respect for human rights and international laws, and in short, really, how to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“They will also talk about ways to deepen our bilateral trade relationship,” the official said.

Abe would leave the US on April 19.

Trump and Abe would be accompanied by top leaders from the two countries.

After his victory in the November 2016 elections, Trump and Abe have developed close personal relationship. They have played golf together. Trump has already visited Japan.

In fact, Trump has met with Abe more than he has met with any other world leader. The two leaders talk over the phone quite frequently.

“The President has a great deal of respect for Prime Minister Abe’s views on Northeast Asian security. He will certainly want to know what additional thoughts Prime Minister Abe has beyond those that he’s already shared, because they’ve been in constant contact in recent weeks, since President Trump accepted an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un. They will go into some detail for sure on that,” the official said.

Responding to a question, the official said that the issue of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea will come up during the talks.

“It is really a matter of international concern when artificial features in the South China Sea are militarised, as we’ve seen happen incrementally over the course of a number of years now,” the official added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.