Many U.S. presidents have buddied up to a foreign leader.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had Winston Churchill, Reagan had Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, George W. Bush had Tony Blair... and Donald Trump has Shinzo Abe. That's right, Trump and the Japanese prime minister seem to have taken quite the liking to each other.
Trump and Abe's bromance all started in February, when Trump invited the Japanese leader to Mar-a-Lago for a visit, apparently on his own dime. The two world leaders appeared to have solidified their friendship during Trump's visit to Japan on Monday.
"We have to spend more time together, because I have enjoyed every minute of it, even though he is a very, very tough negotiator," said Trump during a join press conference.
It's quite a strange pairing. Abe is classically composed. Serene, even. Trump blazed his way to the White House with his boisterous rhetoric and aggression. That said, they do have some reasons to be friends. The two leaders share a certain nationalist political ideology. Trump has irked many with his attempts to ban refugees from entering the country, while Abe did the same in Japan. Trump promised to rebuild the U.S. military, Abe has also sought more military strength in Japan, despite constitutional limits on what exactly it can have. Abe has sought to jump start Japan's stagnant economy, Trump has promised more jobs by pushing an "America First" economic doctrine.
There are also strategic interests at play. Japan has relied heavily on the U.S. military since the end of World War II, and continues to purchase American weapons. Trump wants Abe to expand the Japanese arsenal with the new F-35 fighter and missile defense platforms.
Perhaps nothing unites the two more than the North Korean threat. Japan is a prime target for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, who has fired several missiles over Japanese skies. Trump is no fan of the "rocket man" himself, and has pushed back on North Korea since entering office.
China also poses a threat to both countries. Trump has warned that China poses an economic threat to the U.S. since his campaign for the presidency. Abe, like many east Asian leaders, is worried about Chinese expansionism in the South China sea.
The two leaders may have a lot in common, but every bromance has its problems, and this one is no exception. Trump quipped that he would like to see a more equitable trade balance between the U.S. and Japan, and pushed Abe to build more cars stateside. Trump is also proven to be unpredictable, which could be a problem for Abe when trying to navigate international relations.
It's unclear if Abe and Trump are just allies of convenience or actually like one another, but that really doesn't matter much. The U.S.-Japanese relationship has been largely symbiotic for decades, and both leaders likely know it. So long as that relationship continues, you can expect Trump and Abe to be pretty chummy.