US President Donald Trump at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on Monday night. Picture: AFP/Jim Watson
US President Donald Trump at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on Monday night. Picture: AFP/Jim Watson

Trump's gaffe: 'I never knew there were so many countries'

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has offered some startlingly candid remarks at an official banquet in Japan, sharing with a room full of dignitaries his initial inexperience as a newly elected leader, and confiding that he had been unaware how many countries there were in the world.

Mr Trump was speaking at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo during the first leg of his epic five-country visit of Asia when he made the remarks, which were intermittently translated for the mainly Japanese-speaking crowd.

It was not immediately clear whether the US President was speaking with a flippant flourish, or whether he literally did not know how many countries are in the world.

Mr Trump was referencing a meeting he had with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York in November last year, just over a week after his surprise election win.

Their relationship got off to a "rocky start", Mr Trump said.

 

US President Donald Trump talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening of a welcome dinner hosted by Abe at Akasaka Palac. Picture: AFP/Shizuo Kambayashi
US President Donald Trump talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening of a welcome dinner hosted by Abe at Akasaka Palac. Picture: AFP/Shizuo Kambayashi

"So my relationship with Shinzo got off to quite a rocky start because I never ran for office, and here I am. But I never ran, so I wasn't very experienced. And after I had won, everybody was calling me from all over the world. I never knew we had so many countries."

"I didn't know you were supposed to not see world leaders until after you were in office which was January 20th," he continued.

"You were just not supposed to because it was considered bad form. It was not a nice thing to do and I understand that from the standpoint of the president whose place you were taking."

Mr Trump's Asian tour moves on to South Korea today.

According to Google, there are 195 countries in the world today, 193 of which are full members of the United Nations, and two (the Holy See and Palestine) which have non-member 'observer' status.

 

US President Donald Trump (at right) delivering his speech. Picture: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
US President Donald Trump (at right) delivering his speech. Picture: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

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