US likely heading toward confrontation with China, expert says

Bremmer: Japan relationship set up to be 'warmer under Trump'
Bremmer: Japan relationship set up to be 'warmer under Trump'

The United States will have a stronger relationship with Japan than in the past, but there is also the probability it is heading toward a confrontation with China, prominent geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer told CNBC on Friday.

President Donald Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday and spoke with China's president, Xi Jinping, on Thursday evening.

"The likelihood of the United States ending up with meaningfully better relations with some of our closest allies … is significant. I think the likelihood that the U.S. ends up in direct confrontation with other countries in the world is also significant," the president of Eurasia Group said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

Bremmer said that Stephen Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, believes a direct conflict between the U.S. and China is inevitable. "I don't happen to believe that. But if you do believe that, you absolutely want that conflict to come earlier, when the United States is much more powerful than China, than later on when they have the largest economy in the world."

He said, "It's an enormously risky logic. It's one the markets are going to throw up all over, but it's not that these people are assertively stupid. I just happen to think it's wrong."

Meanwhile, Trump's meeting with Japan's prime minister was a "win" for Trump, said Bremmer.

The meeting between the two leaders comes after Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have created a 12-country Pacific Rim free-trade bloc, including Japan.

"Abe has made a significant decision that he's going to bet on the United States no matter what," he said. "I think that the Abe relationship, the Japan relationship, is set up to be warmer under Trump than it actually has been under Obama."

In fact, Bremmer is confident that there will eventually be a bilateral free trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan.