President Trump and Japan's Abe take a swing at golf diplomacy

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JUPITER, Florida, Feb 11 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hit the links on Saturday, as the two leaders looked to forge a bond over a round of golf diplomacy.

Trump and Abe played under mostly clear skies at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. The White House did not immediately say whether anyone else joined them and reporters were not allowed on the course to watch the pair.

After four hours at the club, Trump tweeted a picture of himself and the prime minister on the golf course.

"Having a great time hosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the United States," Trump said in the tweet.

Shortly after, Trump and Abe left the club to head to a private lunch.

Abe traveled to Florida on Air Force One with the new U.S. president after a more formal meeting at the White House on Friday. The weekend excursion is Trump's first use of his Mar-a-Lago resort to entertain an international leader.

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Trump meets with Japanese PM during visit
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with U.S. President Donald Trump (R) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
WASHINGTON, DC - President Donald Trump holds a joint press conference in the East Room with Japanese Prime Minister Shinz Abe at the White House in Washington, DC Friday February 10, 2017. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 10: President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump walk down the stairs as they arrive with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International airport as they prepare to spend part of the weekend together at Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The two are scheduled to get in a game of golf as well as discuss trade issues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Washington and Tokyo have said the weekend trip is a sign of the importance that both leaders place on the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Abe, in particular, sought to ease concerns in Japan about the fate of the decades-long alliance under Trump, who had raised concerns about U.S. military spending in Japan during the rancorous 2016 presidential election campaign.

At a news conference on Friday, Trump and Abe focused on areas of common ground, with Trump setting aside campaign pledges to force Tokyo to pay more for U.S. defense aid and Abe promising to help the United States to create jobs.

SEE ALSO: Where was Melania Trump? First lady breaks with tradition while White House hosts Japanese prime minister and wife

On Friday night, Trump and Abe ate dinner with their wives on an outdoor patio at Mar-a-Lago. The couples were joined by Robert Kraft, owner of the National Football League's New England Patriots, which won the Super Bowl last Sunday.

Trump and Abe are set to meet again for dinner Saturday evening, along with some members of the Japanese delegation. The two leaders are set to depart Florida on Sunday.

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