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Trump, Abe engage in golf diplomacy

President Donald Trump, center, waves as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and he finish playing golf at Kasumigaseki Country Club, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Kawagoe, Japan. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

KAWAGOE, Japan — Golfing buddies Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe teed off for a quick nine holes on Sunday, relaxing ahead of a high-stakes summit on the North Korea crisis, as their wives visited a pearl boutique in Tokyo’s posh Ginza shopping district.

After a business lunch of hamburgers with US beef—a possible cue to discuss trade issues—Trump and Abe donned golfing kit for a round at Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will host the event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

‘Long ball hitter’

They played with Hideki Matsuyama, one of the world’s top golfers, and Trump had warm words for his skills.

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“He is the greatest player in the history of Japan. Possibly their greatest celebrity… He’s a truly great player, a great athlete,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

Trump described Matsuyama as a “long ball hitter” but could not resist adding: “I hit the ball pretty long.”

But he graciously conceded that Matsuyama was likely to tee off further than him, warning the press of possible fake news.

“If I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it,” he said.

Inside, the two leaders signed white caps that read, “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater.”

Abe and Trump played golf when the Japanese prime minister visited the United States in February, with the latter keen to stress that his skills were not on par with Trump’s.

At the time Trump tweeted a photograph in which he was wearing a white baseball cap and polo shirt, high-fiveing Abe who was dressed in white pants and a navy blue cap.

Mikimoto pearl

In Tokyo, Abe’s wife, Akie, greeted Melania Trump with a bow as she arrived at the Mikimoto Pearl flagship store in Ginza on Sunday.

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The two women had a brief chat after posing for photos in the store’s VIP lounge.

The first ladies toured the shop and posed with staff during the brief visit.

Mrs. Trump, a former fashion model who once sold her own line of jewelry on the QVC television shopping channel, made no purchases. —Reports from AFP and AP

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