Published: Sat, June 29, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

G20 members discuss economy, trade in Osaka Summit

G20 members discuss economy, trade in Osaka Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.

On the eve of the trip, Trump showed a willingness to deliver broadsides at American allies, questioning the fairness of a mutual defense treaty with Japan, a bedrock of the two nations' alliance, while also tweeting a complaint about the tariffs India has placed on USA goods.

He also offered an olive branch to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying, "She is a fantastic person, a fantastic woman and I'm glad to have her as a friend".

"With your help, I hope we will realise lovely harmony in Osaka. rather than highlight our confrontations, let us seek out what unites us", said Abe as he opened the talks.

This weekend, markets will find out whether their hopes for a restoration in US-China trade talks will become reality, and whether the scope for further deterioration in bilateral relations would be significantly constrained.

Looming over the talks will also be continuing tensions in the Middle East. Trump said before heading to Japan that any war with Iran "wouldn't last long".

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a trade stalemate since Trump came into office on a populist wave, fueled in part by his promise to get tough on China and a laundry list of other countries he still contends have been "ripping off" the USA and treating it like a "piggybank".

Abe welcomed Trump's visit and said the two leaders' frequent meetings - most recently during a May state visit by Trump to Tokyo - were "proof of the strong US-Japan alliance".

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He also held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, before which Abe said sustainable growth of the world's economy wouldn't be possible "without the cooperation of the USA and Japan". In a prod at the Trump administration's increasingly protectionist policies, Xi also said he wants to promote "multilateral, free trade". After she told him what Trump had said, he laughed.

Putin praised President Donald Trump for his efforts to try to stop the flow of migrants and drugs from Mexico and said that liberalism "presupposes that nothing needs to be done".

However, this time the issues of trade ties between participating members, climate change, and the situation of crisis in Iran are expected to dominate the summit.

At a meeting on the G-20 sidelines, Putin, Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed on the need to rely on worldwide law, respect national sovereignty and refrain from interference in the internal affairs of other nations, Putin said.

"We are seeing rising tension over trade and geopolitics, which are downside risks", a Japanese official said on the sidelines. They will also likely take on the subjects of Syria and Venezuela. US officials said Trump would also warn Putin against continued election meddling. There has been speculation that the USA president will make a visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, but US officials have ruled out a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while the US president is on the peninsula.

The last Chinese president to make a state visit to Japan was Hu Jintao in 2008.

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