Argentine president opens G-20 Summit
- Arturo Norris
US President Donald Trump has been given a personal explanation of events that led to him meeting Scott Morrison as Australia's Prime Minister - not the man he has been used to meeting at the White House, in NY and at world summits for the last two years.
In November, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation officials gathered in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, failed to issue a joint statement for the first time ever after the USA and China delegations clashed over language addressing trade and security.
The two-day summit beginning on Friday is supposed to focus on development, infrastructure and food security, but those seemed largely an afterthought amid soured US-European relations and as the United States, Mexico and Canada hammered out the final language of a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).
The U.S. has imposed import taxes on $250 billion worth of Chinese products, citing predatory trade practices by the Chinese, and China has countered by targeting $110 billion in U.S. imports. Trump later said "we had no discussion", though he held out the prospect of spending more time with the crown prince.
And while over the next few days Mr Macri will want to make a good impression for his visitors, he's struggling with his reputation closer to home.
To force reform at the WTO, the United States has blocked new appointments to the world's top trade court.
"The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity, and it is on that level that we're just being sure that all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed". "Everything's high security. It's unusual to see everything so empty", she said.
Ahead of the G20 Mr Trump told U.S. media he expected to go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods - first introduced in September - to 25% (up from 10%) starting in January 2019. China calls the United States protectionist and has resisted what it views as attempts to intimidate it. "Way, way, way above my pay grade", he said.
However, Trump made clear that he also wants to follow up on his historic June summit in Singapore as he tries to persuade the reclusive regime to give up its nuclear weapons. He said the European Union is expected to extend sanctions on Moscow over its "totally unacceptable" seizure of Ukrainian ships and their crews near Crimea.
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The octagonal giant screens mounted on a platform mimic a desert encounter where agents must decide whether to fire their weapons. The United States shut the crossing for several hours on Sunday and Trump has threatened to close the border entirely.
Saudi Arabia has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role, but some leaders may be cool toward him to avoid seeming to legitimize a man who USA intelligence agencies concluded ordered the killing. "So I really don't know", Trump told reporters at the White House.
The two leaders would also agree on a "framework" for further talks, USA officials such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have said publicly.
Putin grinned broadly and welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman like a long-lost friend with an enthusiastic handshake after the group photo, where Trump looked on somberly and Xi stood impassively.
The summit marks a quick return to the global stage for Prince Mohammed after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate. Human Rights Watch asked Argentine prosecutors to investigate him for human rights abuses. The Saudi foreign ministry said the prince had meetings with his French, South Korean and Mexican counterparts.
Saudi Arabia has insisted the prince had no prior knowledge of the killing.
After violent protests marred last year's G20 summit in Germany, Argentine police, coast guard and border patrols cordoned off a 12-square-kilometer (5-square-mile) area around the riverside Costa Salguero convention center.
The minister's statements were apparently a response to Trump's remarks during a press conference at Macri's Casa Rosada residence earlier on Friday.
In another bilateral meeting on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the Renault-Nissan alliance's future with Japan's Abe, seeking to defuse a brewing diplomatic row over the balance of power inside the partnership.
After Trump, Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto each signed their copy of the agreement, Trump held his up and said: 'We might as well hold that up'.
The three countries agreed a deal in principle to govern their trillion dollars of mutual trade after a year and a half of contentious talks concluded with a late-night bargain just an hour before a deadline on September 30.
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