Tuesday morning news: May 28, 2019

President Trump wraps up 4-day visit to Japan » Air Force One will touch down at Maryland’s Andrews Air Force Base today as President Trump returns to Washington from his four-day visit to Japan.

Hours earlier, he dined as the guest of honor at a state banquet inside Japan’s Imperial Palace.

AUDIO: [Japan music]

The music heard there, part of the festivities, as the president became the first foreign leader to meet with Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito.

TRUMP: Your majesty, the first lady and I will never forget this gracious invitation, and we thank the people of Japan for their incredible hospitality and their warm welcome in this majestic land. 

President Trump also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pressing the leader on trade. He said the U.S. trade imbalance with Japan is “unbelievably large.”

But on Sunday he tweeted that major moves can wait until after the country’s upper house election next month.

The leaders talked defense as well. The U.S. is set to sell Japan more than a hundred F-35 stealth fighter jets. That’s the largest fleet the U.S. has sold to any country.

Trump, Abe discuss nuclear talks with North Korea, Iran » They also discussed challenges with North Korea and Iran. President Trump said the U.S. and Japan share the same goal of a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons.

Trump said he remains hopeful he can work out a nuclear deal with Kim Jong Un. And he said he’s not worried about Pyongyang’s recent short-range missile launches.

TRUMP: Perhaps he wants to get attention and perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests. There have been no ballistic missiles going out. There have been no long-range missiles going out. 

The president politely disagreed with his own national security adviser John Bolton after he said North Korea’s recent missile tests violate UN resolutions. Trump said he doesn’t see it that way.

Pyongyang lashed out at Bolton on Monday, calling him a “war monger.”

With regard to Iran, President Trump said he’s open to Prime Minister Abe acting as a mediator between the U.S. and Iranian leaders.

TRUMP: The prime minister’s already spoken to me about that, and I do believe that Iran would like to talk. And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also. We’ll see what happens. 

Publicly, the Iranian regime insists it will not negotiate with the U.S. after President Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

In his joint news conference with Abe, the president made clear that the U.S. is not pursuing regime change in Iran.

French police arrest 4 suspects in Lyon bombing » French police have arrested four suspects following a bomb blast in the city of Lyon. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: TV footage showed undercover officers donning ski masks and flak jackets amid a police operation in the town of Lyon. Officers launched a large manhunt after a device exploded Friday on a busy street in France’s third-largest city.

Video surveillance captured the image of a suspect leaving a paper bag on a concrete block near a bakery. One minute later, the explosion sent shrapnel flying. Thirteen people suffered injuries.

According to French media, those arrested included the mother and the brother of the main suspect.

The city’s mayor called the arrests “a relief.” He added that he believes the case is now resolved. And he said “If there was a [terrorist] network, it has been identified and will certainly be dismantled.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion an “attack” but no group has claimed responsibility.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Future of U.K. gvmt. uncertain as prime minister hopefuls line up » The future of Britain’s exit from the European Union remains as uncertain as ever. This week’s EU election highlighted the deep divisions that remain on the issue.

And the Conservative Party now faces the task of choosing a new leader to chart the path forward after Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she’ll soon step aside.

MAY: It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit. 

May announced last week that she’s resigning as leader of the UK’s ruling party on June 7th. She’ll step down as prime minister when the party elects a new leader.

Candidates include Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove. But the frontrunner appears to be former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. A recent poll suggests 4-in-10 Conservative lawmakers rank him as their top choice.

Fiat Chrysler proposes merger to Renault to form auto giant » Fiat Chrysler hopes to merge with France’s Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: The company proposed the merger on Monday. Together the auto giant would be worth $40 billion and would reshape the global industry. Producing nearly 9 million vehicles a year, it would leapfrog General Motors, trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.

Renault welcomed what it called a “friendly” offer. The company’s board met Monday at its headquarters outside Paris and said Renault will study the proposal “with interest.”

Fiat Chrysler’s offer comes at a key moment for Renault. The French manufacturer had wanted to merge fully with Nissan. But those plans derailed following the arrest of boss Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges in Japan.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

(The Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP) In this photo provided by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japanese Emperor Naruhito, center right, shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Empress Masako, right, and First lady Melania Trump, left, as Emperor and Empress visit the President at a Tokyo hotel, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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