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Trump to hold 'private meeting' with Abe: transition team

US President-elect Donald Trump will hold a "private meeting" with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday evening, the transition team said.

"This evening, the president-elect will be meeting, it will be a private meeting, with Japanese Prime Minister Abe," said Jason Miller, communications director of the transition team, during a daily conference call briefing. "To be clear, we recognize there is only one president of the US at any time and so this is a private meeting."

The meeting in New York, will be Trump's first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since his election.

It will be watched closely as Trump expressed deeply negative views on the campaign trail of US security commitments to allies, such as Japan and South Korea, while demanding that the allies should pay more for American troops stationed in the countries or the US should be prepared to pull out of them.

In the days since his election, however, Trump has shown signs of retreat from his campaign rhetoric.

In a phone call with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Trump made a series of remarks reaffirming the alliance, such as, "We are with you all the way and will not waver" and "We will be steadfast and strong with respect to working with you to protect against the instability in North Korea."

Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to Trump, also said that Trump and Abe may discuss alliance issues, but she believes it will be "a much more informal meeting than all of that."

"We have the current president and commander-in-chief and President Obama is still the president. So we're sensitive to the fact that these meetings with heads of state occur within that construct," Conway said on CBS television.

"President Obama is on his last foreign trip in that capacity. So I think any deeper conversations about policy and the relationship between Japan and the United States will have to wait until after the inauguration," she said. (Yonhap)