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President-elect Trump’s transition team has made no contact with the State Department, a government spokesman said just hours before the real estate mogul holds his first in-person meeting with a foreign leader.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is headed to Trump Tower on Thursday evening, the same day Secretary of State John Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met during the Asia Pacific Economic Summit in Peru. Those conversations remain purely parallel tracks, however, Trump and the State Department are not yet in contact.

“There were no briefing materials shared with the president-elect’s team,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

The State Department has pledged to provide any help Trump’s team requests when the transition team makes contact with the career diplomats. Kirby defended Trump’s team from any suggestion their silence thus far bodes poorly for the transition. “Each incoming administration has their own inner workings and their own team and organizational approach and there’s no right or wrong way to do it and there’s no right or wrong time period to put teams in place at various agencies,” Kirby said.



Kirby’s colleague released a public readout of Kerry’s meeting with Kushida, as is standard practice, which ensures that the Trump team at least has some insight into the meeting of the top diplomats. “Secretary Kerry highlighted the continued strength of our partnership and alliance with Japan, the cornerstone of U.S. engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, and discussed a full range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including DPRK, climate change and the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement, and trade,” the readout from spokesman Mark Toner said.

Japan has developed into a key U.S. economic ally in the Pacific over the last several decades, with the American military providing security pursuant to the World War II peace treaty that severely restricted Japanese military development. President Obama’s team expressed interest in the island nation “exercising its right of collective self-defense” and increasing military spending in 2013.

Trump has alarmed the Japanese government with his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, complaints about a trade imbalance and threats to withdraw U.S. military protection unless Japan pays the full cost. “Why aren’t they paying 100 percent?” he asked in response to news that they pay for half the cost of the military installations there. “You know what kind of money we’re talking about? And then they wonder why this country is poor, because we’re a debtor nation.”

Abe hopes the meeting will form the basis of a trusting relationship with Trump. “The Japan-US alliance is the axis of Japan’s diplomacy and security,” he told CNN . “The alliance becomes alive only when there is trust between us. I would like to build such a trust with Mr Trump.”

Trump won’t be Abe’s only new friend. The Japanese leader will soon Russian President Vladimir Putin — regarded by most American experts as an adversary of the United States, a status quo Trump hopes to change after exchanging compliments during the campaign — just months after traveling to Russia to meet Putin. Russia hailed that meeting as a sign that President Obama’s attempt to punish them Putin for annexing Crimea was failing.

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“It’s an important visit that shows that Japan has decided not to put all its eggs in one basket,” Alexei Pushkov, a member of the Russian parliament, said in May.

Trump’s meeting with Abe might be leavened by establishment foreign policy thinking, despite his lack of contact with the State Department, as it takes place hours after he met with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

“I have tremendous respect for Dr. Kissinger and appreciate him sharing his thoughts with me,” Trump said Thursday morning.

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