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President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

During a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Trump told reporters Thursday he's open to inviting Kim Jong-un to the White House if the upcoming summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore ends well. However, Trump cautioned that he is "totally prepared to walk" if things don’t go well, noting he "did it once before."

The big picture: Axios World editor Dave Lawler explains that Japan has a lot at stake in Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un, and is the most hawkish toward North Korea of the major players. Abe was expected to advise caution in his meeting with Trump, and ask him to raise two key issues at the summit: the abductions by North Korea of Japanese citizens, and short and medium range missiles that don’t pose a threat to the U.S. but could strike Japan.

The details: Trump suggested that he could normalize U.S. relations with Pyongyang "whenever things complete," but emphasized the summit is purely the beginning of that process. He also reiterated that he is committed to the goal of complete denuclearization of North Korea, but explained that he has stopped using the term "maximum pressure." If he returns to the phrase, that means negotiation with the North is "not going well."

  • Abe repeatedly lauded Trump, expressing that of all world leaders, Trump is one who understands abduction matter "the most." Abe wants to ensure the issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea is a top priority of Trump's because it's a key case for the Japanese.

Between the lines: Abe has put a lot of stock in his relationship with Trump, but that relationship has been complicated by Trump’s aggressive moves on trade and the prospect of auto tariffs that could hit the Japanese economy hard.

    • Trump added that the U.S. seeks "a fair and mutually beneficial economic partnership" with Japan, improve trade imbalance and vowed to ensure that any agreement makes with Kim doesn't harm Japan's security interests.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."