Donald Trump continued to dodge questions Sunday about whether he supports Japan obtaining nuclear weapons.
In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” that aired Sunday morning, host John Dickerson pressed Trump to answer whether he believed it was acceptable to walk away from the decades-old military alliance between the US and Japan, even if it meant the former would acquire nuclear weapons.
“It is a fair characterization of your view to say, if you walk and they get nuclear weapons, you said, you know – that’d be OK?” Dickerson asked.
“I didn’t say get nuclear,” Trump said, brushing aside previous comments to the contrary. “Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.”
Over the last several months, Trump has repeatedly suggested ending the decades-long strategic agreement between the US and Japan that allows the US military to maintain bases in the Japanese archipelago in exchange for American military protection in the case of an attack on Japan.
“Maybe they would be better off – including with nukes, yes, including with nukes,” Trump said on “Fox News Sunday” in April.
In Sunday’s interview with “Face The Nation,” Trump insisted that the US needed to be “prepared to walk” from negotiations that Trump would initiate with Japan over the continued military alliance.
“At a certain point, you know Japan will, if they’re not going to pay us what it’s going to cost. The fact is, they are paying a small fraction of what it’s costing. So is Germany, so is Saudi Arabia, so is South Korea. We are losing a fortune,” Trump said.
Many critics have questioned Trump’s suggestion that the US does not directly benefit from an alliance with Japan, pointing out that the alliance has kept the region from ratcheting up a military and arms race. As Foreign Policy has noted, most Americans are content with the state of the US-Japan relationship, though the relationship is less popular among Americans who identify as Republican.
Trump has been a decades-long critic of the close economic and military relationship between the US and Japan.
The presumptive Republican nominee has repeatedly claimed that the Japanese – along with countries like Mexico, China, and South Korea – have unfairly benefited from globalization to America’s detriment.