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Trump cosies up again with notorious Saudi Crown Prince at G20 summit

Donald Trump was pictured sharing a joke with Mohammed Bin Salman and kissing Emmanuel Macron’s wife as he lined up alongside other world leaders for a ‘family photo’ at the G20 summit.  

The 20 heads of state and a number of their partners posed in front of Osaka Castle on Friday evening ahead of a banquet hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  

Bin Salman was pictured embracing a number of world leaders who earlier this year condemned him over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

The Saudi Crown Prince has been under increased scrutiny since the murder of Khashoggi after the CIA reportedly concluded that he ordered the murder. 

At a photo opportunity earlier in the day Trump and MBS could be seen sharing conversation as the world leaders gathered on a single stage for the traditional photo-op.   

 

Trump sharing a joke with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman as they lined up for the evening photocall on Friday

Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman heads towards President Donald Trump as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second from right and his wife, Akie Abe gather for a group photo at Osaka Castle

Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman heads towards President Donald Trump as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second from right and his wife, Akie Abe gather for a group photo at Osaka Castle

Before a dinner was held behind closed doors on Friday the world leaders and their wives went outside to pose for more photos

Before a dinner was held behind closed doors on Friday the world leaders and their wives went outside to pose for more photos

Trump (front right) talks to France's President Emmanuel Macron as other world leaders started to take their places on Friday night. Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada stand just behind

Trump (front right) talks to France’s President Emmanuel Macron as other world leaders started to take their places on Friday night. Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada stand just behind

Trump kisses Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, as Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie Abe and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrive for a group photo at Osaka Castle

Trump kisses Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie Abe and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrive for a group photo at Osaka Castle

Japan' Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his spouse Akie Abe take their places while Trump and MBS chat nearby during the photocall

Japan’ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his spouse Akie Abe take their places while Trump and MBS chat nearby during the photocall

During the evening photocall Trump was seen kissing Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel, on the cheek as they lined up for the pictures. 

Trump struck a conciliatory tone with fellow world leaders at one of the most high-stakes G20 meetings in years, despite deep divisions on trade and climate change.

Host Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, appealed for unity among bickering world leaders at the start of Japan’s new era of ‘Reiwa’ or ‘beautiful harmony’, with the long-running trade row between China and the United States threatening to overshadow the event.

Trump entered the room for the event in Osaka walking next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, leaving a holding room after many other leaders had gathered. The two men walked and talked, and Putin gave Trump a slight pat on the back as they parted for the event. 

The two leaders were meeting for the first time since the publication of the Mueller report.

And when asked if he would warn Russia not to meddle in the next election, Trump wore a bit of a smile, pointed his finger at Putin and dryly said: ‘Don’t meddle in the election, please. 

Trump (left) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman during the Leaders family photograph

Trump (left) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman during the Leaders family photograph

Trump extends a hand to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the 'family photo' at the G20 summit in Japan

Trump extends a hand to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the ‘family photo’ at the G20 summit in Japan

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin walked into a 'family photo' session after many other leaders had gathered. The two leaders met for the first time since the publication of the Mueller Report

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin walked into a ‘family photo’ session after many other leaders had gathered. The two leaders met for the first time since the publication of the Mueller Report

Trump passes Bin Salman as they gather for the meeting

Bin Salman smiles as he takes his place for the leader's photo

Left: Trump passes Bin Salman as they gather for the meeting. Right: Bin Salman smiles as he takes his place for the leader’s photo

President Donald Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit

President Donald Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with US President Donald Trump ahead of the family photo of world leaders

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with US President Donald Trump ahead of the family photo of world leaders

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman smiles as Russia's Vladimir Putin raises his eyebrows during a chat at the general meeting

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman smiles as Russia’s Vladimir Putin raises his eyebrows during a chat at the general meeting

The Saudi Arabian and Russian leaders smile together as they greet each other ahead of the general summit on Friday

The Saudi Arabian and Russian leaders smile together as they greet each other ahead of the general summit on Friday

The leaders of the G20 - the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies - are meeting in Osaka, Japan. Front row: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, French President Emmanuel Macron, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, (Second) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Theresa May, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, European Union President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Senegal President Macky Sall, Chile President Sebastian Pinera and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and third row's invited guests

The leaders of the G20 – the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies – are meeting in Osaka, Japan. Front row: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, French President Emmanuel Macron, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, (Second) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Theresa May, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, European Union President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Senegal President Macky Sall, Chile President Sebastian Pinera and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and third row’s invited guests

Trump on Friday hailed his ‘very, very good relationship’ with Russia’s President Putin as the two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

‘It’s a great honour to be with President Putin,’ said Trump, who last held face-to-face talks with the Russian leader in Helsinki in July.

G20 highlights: 

‘For once, I was using this jetlag to read the communique which normally I’m not doing. I’m not the only one in this room who does not read the communique. Nobody in fact reads the communique.’ Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

‘Don’t expect white smoke here in Osaka. Smoking is forbidden everywhere here. I have no idea how you will survive, Jean-Claude!’ EU President Donald Tusk jokes, in reference to the Juncker’s famously heavy smoking and the white smoke of the Vatican.

‘It’s important to note they’ve got some fair dinkum issues they are trying to sort out.’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison talking about the US-China trade war using a term that will leave many outside Australia scratching their heads. 

‘Don’t meddle in the election, president, don’t meddle.’ A finger-wagging, tongue-in-cheek Trump to Putin.

‘The G20 meeting takes place in a moment of high tension, high political tension. We have global warming but we have also global political warming.’ UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

‘She is a fantastic person, a fantastic woman.’ Trump referring to Merkel.  

‘Today things are made neither in China, nor in the United States. They are made globally,’ French President Emmanuel Macron, who even switched into English for the final word.

‘He is a special man, doing very well, very much loved by the people of Brazil.’ A beaming Trump talking about the ‘Trump of the Tropics’, Bolsonaro. 

Mr Putin faced a far frostier head-to-head with Theresa May when he met the Prime Minister later, who was anticipated to demand he take responsibility for the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last year and tell him to hand over the Novichok assassins sent by the Russian state to kill their former agent. 

For the photo Trump stood in the front row, where he was flanked by the crown prince as well as Turkey’s president Recip Erdogan. Directly behind them was British prime minister Theresa May.

And as the leaders headed into the first session, French President Emmanuel Macron leaned down to whisper something into Trump’s ear, covering his mouth for privacy as he did so. 

Trump holds bilateral meetings with the crown prince, known as MBS, as well as Putin. He said before the trip that he ‘may’ raise the issue of Russia’s election interference. 

This year’s G20 is seen as one of the most significant in modern times since rows are brewing over a bruising US-China trade war and climate change despite a more conciliatory tone from Donald Trump. 

After lashing out at friend and foe alike en route to Osaka in western Japan for the meeting, Trump appeared in a less combative mood when meeting fellow world leaders face-to-face.

Fresh from describing traditionally close US ally Germany as ‘delinquent’ for not paying enough into the NATO budget, he was effusive when meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel.

‘She’s a fantastic person, a fantastic woman and I’m glad to have her as a friend,’ he said.

It comes just 24 hours after Merkel was filmed shaking during a public appearance for the second time in just over a week on Thursday.

The 64-year-old Chancellor’s arms and body could be seen noticeably trembling as she met Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

Despite the worrying incident, Merkel’s team said she was ‘fine’ and there would be no change to her G20 engagements. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro laughs as he greets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Osaka on Friday

Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro laughs as he greets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Osaka on Friday

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the first day of the G20 summit

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the first day of the G20 summit

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince (left), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri are sat in front of columns of their staff at the meeting today

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince (left), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri are sat in front of columns of their staff at the meeting today

The French President Emmanuel Macron cracks a water bottle open with the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to his right and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The French President Emmanuel Macron cracks a water bottle open with the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to his right and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Trump and Prime Minister Abe invited the married couple onto centre stage during their meeting to pose for a photo

President Trump and Prime Minister Abe invited the married couple onto centre stage during their meeting to pose for a photo

Trump - never short of animation - reacts to something as his daughter passes by to take a seat. Seen behind are Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Trump – never short of animation – reacts to something as his daughter passes by to take a seat. Seen behind are Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

France's President Emmanuel Macron (left) points at something alongside President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (left) points at something alongside President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

French President Emmanuel Macron pats Trump on the back as the trio including Shinzo Abe shared a joke at the general meeting

French President Emmanuel Macron pats Trump on the back as the trio including Shinzo Abe shared a joke at the general meeting

MBS is greeted by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the host of the conference,  as he turned up for the opening ceremony

MBS is greeted by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the host of the conference,  as he turned up for the opening ceremony

Russia's President Vladimir Putin also joined the event. Pictured: The Russian President and Shinzo Abe shaking hands on the red carpet

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin also joined the event. Pictured: The Russian President and Shinzo Abe shaking hands on the red carpet

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L front) welcomed at Kansai International Airport ahead of the 2019 G20 Summit

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L front) welcomed at Kansai International Airport ahead of the 2019 G20 Summit

Donald Trump shares some warm words with Theresa May, attending her last G20 before she leaves office in July

Donald Trump shares some warm words with Theresa May, attending her last G20 before she leaves office in July

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan

France’s President Emmanuel Macron speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan

President Donald Trump shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping before a 'family photo'

President Donald Trump shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping before a ‘family photo’

President Trump lauded Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who endorsed Trump's reelection during a bilateral meeting at the G20 in Japan

President Trump lauded Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who endorsed Trump’s reelection during a bilateral meeting at the G20 in Japan

President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019

President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May looked more solemn than her US counterpart as she shook hands with the Russian president later on Friday

British Prime Minister Theresa May looked more solemn than her US counterpart as she shook hands with the Russian president later on Friday

‘Don’t meddle in the election’: Trump’s tongue-in-cheek comment to Putin

President Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the elections – with a smile.

The president was asked at the top of a G20 meeting Friday in Japan whether he would tell the Russian president not to interfere in the 2020 elections – as the Mueller report concludes Russia did in 2016. 

‘Yes, of course I will,’ Trump responded. ‘Don’t meddle in the election, please,’ Trump told Putin, as he beamed at the Moscow leader, amid hubbub in a room packed full of reporters and dignitaries. 

Following his meeting with Putin, Trump told reporters: ‘We’ve had great meetings. We’ve had very, very good relationship. And we look forward to spending some very good time together.

‘A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship. So Vladimir, thank you very much,’ Trump said. 

The two men were seated next to each other with a floral arrangement. 

Putin spoke only in broad strokes in brief comments, speaking in Russian through a translator.

‘We haven’t seen each other since Helsinki meeting,’ Putin noted, referencing their summit meeting where Trump took heat domestically for saying he accepted Putin’s denial of election interference – which is contradicted by the U.S. Intelligence Community assessment. 

There was an earlier show of camaraderie, as the two men chatted on the way to a ‘family photo’ at the summit. 

Trump patted Putin gently on the back on the way to the event, where he stood next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the G20 meeting, which will be dominated by contentious discussions on trade, geopolitical tensions, and climate change.

Trump hailed Abe, for sending ‘many automobile companies’ to the United States, apparently heartened by a document Abe gave him showing investment into the US.

‘I see they’re building all over the United States a lot of the great Japanese car companies,’ Trump said.

The CIA has concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashogg

The CIA has concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashogg

Toyota has U.S. plants in Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas, Indiana, and Alabama, while Honda has a big plant in Marysville, Ohio.

He kicked off his first meeting of the summit with an ice breaker, recalling his recent trip to Japan where he awarded a new ‘President’s Cup’ trophy to a Japanese sumo sumo wrestling champion.

Trump said it was ‘Something that everybody’s talking about. All over the world they’re showing that everybody’s talking about it,’ he said.

Only two days earlier, he had seemed to doubt the US-Japan alliance, saying that Washington was committed to protecting Japan but if America was attacked, the Japanese could just ‘watch it on a Sony television’.

As the meeting opened, world leaders jostled and greeted each other during the family photo with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker whispering extensively into Trump’s ear.

The mood appeared friendly in the opening minutes, with smiles on the faces of the arriving leaders as they posed for the traditional ‘family photograph’. 

Trump and Xi Jinping exchanged a handshake before the photo. 

The Saudi crown prince smiled and exchanged greetings with Putin the leaders took their positions. Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted Trump. The pair are set to meet later in the summit. 

After the photo session the leaders gathered for a plenary working lunch. 

The CIA has concluded that MBS ordered the killing, which was carried out by Saudi officials inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, according to the Post. 

The first meeting of the heads of delegations from the G20 member countries, invited guests and international organisations

The first meeting of the heads of delegations from the G20 member countries, invited guests and international organisations

The Russian president (seen arriving in Japan today) criticised Western views on gay rights, immigration and multiculturalism ¿ which he claimed were an attack on ¿traditional family values¿

The Russian president (seen arriving in Japan today) criticised Western views on gay rights, immigration and multiculturalism – which he claimed were an attack on ‘traditional family values’

President Donald Trump, left, speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during family photo session at G-20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019

President Donald Trump, left, speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during family photo session at G-20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019

Donald Trump meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday morning. Just 24 hours before the conference was due to start Mrs Merkel was filmed trembling during a public engagement

Donald Trump meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday morning. Just 24 hours before the conference was due to start Mrs Merkel was filmed trembling during a public engagement 

Leaders and officials from several of the G20 nations sit for round table discussions during the opening stages of the summit

Leaders and officials from several of the G20 nations sit for round table discussions during the opening stages of the summit

Theresa May walks the red carpet at the event. She used the conference to blast Russia for its use of cyber attacks and disinformation

Theresa May walks the red carpet at the event. She used the conference to blast Russia for its use of cyber attacks and disinformation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe checks his watch during the summit. Abe looked to bridge differences and highlight the two Japan-U.S. ties after Trump knocked the allies¿ security relationship a day earlier

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe checks his watch during the summit. Abe looked to bridge differences and highlight the two Japan-U.S. ties after Trump knocked the allies’ security relationship a day earlier

Donald Trump gestures towards Russian President Vladimir Putin as they sat down on the sidelines of the summit for talks. Trump later joked 'no meddling in our elections' during the meeting

Donald Trump gestures towards Russian President Vladimir Putin as they sat down on the sidelines of the summit for talks. Trump later joked ‘no meddling in our elections’ during the meeting

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron embrace as they meet during the summit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron embrace as they meet during the summit

Trump has indicated a desire to move on from the incident and focus on other matters in the relationship, stressing Saudi purchases of U.S. military equipment. 

‘I think it’s been heavily investigated… By everybody,’ Trump told NBC in a ‘Meet the Press’ interview Sunday. 

‘Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of [U.S.] product. That means something to me. It’s a big producer of jobs, Trump said. He said the killing ‘didn’t come up’ during a call this month.

The Saudis blamed the killing on a rogue operation. 

Last night Mr Putin said liberal governments had ignored their people in pursuit of multiculturalism and tolerance of gay people. He said: ‘I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish.

‘But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that.

‘But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.’

Mr Putin said the threat of a new nuclear arms race between Russia and the US was a concern, adding: ‘The Cold War was a bad thing… but there were at least some rules that all participants in international communication more or less adhered to or tried to follow.’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage on the side of the G20 summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage on the side of the G20 summit

Trump and Abe shaking hands. The President used the conference to thank Japan for ¿sending many auto companies into Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania, North Carolina and a lot of our states¿

Trump and Abe shaking hands. The President used the conference to thank Japan for ‘sending many auto companies into Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania, North Carolina and a lot of our states’

Trump and Putin shake hands during their meeting. Their only prior meeting was a controversial event in Helskini which Putin was said to have come out on top from

Trump and Putin shake hands during their meeting. Their only prior meeting was a controversial event in Helskini which Putin was said to have come out on top from

Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with President Donald Trump as the two world leaders take their places for the group photo in the front row

Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with President Donald Trump as the two world leaders take their places for the group photo in the front row

'Don't meddle,' Trump told Russia's President Vladimir Putin when asked about election interference during the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019

‘Don’t meddle,’ Trump told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin when asked about election interference during the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019

The meeting was the first time the two leaders have held face-to-face talks since a controversial meeting last year in Helsinki

‘Don’t meddle,’ Trump told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin when asked about election interference during the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019

Theresa May, pictured arriving in Osaka this morning, will today tell Vladimir Putin to hand over the two agents who carried out the Salisbury chemical attack

Theresa May, pictured arriving in Osaka this morning, will today tell Vladimir Putin to hand over the two agents who carried out the Salisbury chemical attack

Mrs May will hold meetings with several world leaders during her final G20 meeting as UK PM

Mrs May will hold meetings with several world leaders during her final G20 meeting as UK PM

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

France's President Emmanuel Macron

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and France’s President Emmanuel Macron sit down for the first of many round table meetings at the summit

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russia's President Vladimir Putin take part in a meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin take part in a meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the US President at the International Exhibition Center

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the US President at the International Exhibition Center

President Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, an adviser to the White House, have joined The Donald on the trip to Japan

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, an adviser to the White House, have joined The Donald on the trip to Japan

Shinzo Abe's wife Akie Abe (front centre) poses with partners of the G20 leaders for a family photo during the summit on Friday

Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie Abe (front centre) poses with partners of the G20 leaders for a family photo during the summit on Friday

The wives of the leaders of state take their places at the venue as the line up to pose for official photos ahead of proceedings

The wives of the leaders of state take their places at the venue as the line up to pose for official photos ahead of proceedings

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife Emine Erdogan and French First Lady Brigitte Macron were among the leaders' wives posing in the photos

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wife Emine Erdogan and French First Lady Brigitte Macron were among the leaders’ wives posing in the photos

Trade and horse-trade: Top five hot-button G20 issues 

Global trade, geopolitical hotspots and even horse-trading over top EU jobs: G20 leaders have a lot of their plate when they meet from Friday in Osaka.

Here are some of the most pressing issues facing the leaders at the two-day meeting, with the decisive action likely to take place mainly on the sidelines.

‘Tariffs and trade’

All eyes will be on whether the US and China, the world’s top two economies, can bury the hatchet in their long-running trade war that is causing headwinds for an already fragile global economy.

The two leaders, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, will hold talks on the sidelines of the Osaka summit, their first face-to-face meeting since December at the last G20 in Argentina.

Experts are sceptical that a definitive deal will be struck in Japan, but many believe they may agree on a tariff truce and set a new deadline for a final agreement.

Trade will also feature heavily as a point of conflict in the wider G20 meeting with battles likely over the wording of the final statement – if the leaders can agree on one.

A G20 finance ministers meeting earlier this month noted in a communique that trade tensions had ‘intensified’ and that risks were ’tilted to the downside’, but even this statement took 30 hours of hard-fought wrangling.

Letter from Pyongyang

Relations between the United States and North Korea have been in the freezer since a summit in Hanoi in February failed to achieve progress on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

But a recent exchange of letters between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has raised hopes that a third summit could be on the cards, and the US president is travelling to South Korea immediately after the G20.

Xi arrives in Osaka fresh from his first visit to Pyongyang and observers expect he may pass on a message from Kim to rekindle diplomatic activity.

Iranian powder keg

With key regional players such as the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia in attendance, the mounting tensions with Iran are certain to be a hot topic of conversation.

The G20 host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sought to play a mediation role with a historic trip to Tehran, but this was overshadowed by two attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman that Washington blames on Iran.

At the last moment, Trump called off a planned military retaliation for the downing of an unmanned US drone, saying that the estimated death toll of 150 was not proportionate.

And on Friday, he said there was ‘no rush’ to calm tensions with Iran.

‘Hopefully in the end it’s going to work out,’ he added.

EU President Donald Tusk warned that the tensions were a ‘serious concern’ and urged Iran to comply with a nuclear deal despite Washington’s decision to withdraw from it.

Climate change wrangling

Hosts Japan are hoping to achieve consensus on the increasingly contentious issue of climate change action.

But they will struggle to unite European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, who has said he wants to see ambitious language on climate change action, and Trump, who plans to withdraw Washington from the Paris climate agreement.

Macron has said including a reference to the Paris deal on lowering emissions is a ‘red line’, and a German government source admitted negotiations are ‘particularly difficult this year’.

Last year’s G20 communique saw all members but the US refer to the Paris deal as ‘irreversible’, with Washington inserting a line reiterating its commitment to withdrawing from the agreement.

‘Brussels horse-trading’

After failing to agree a deal for the successor to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at a summit on Friday, EU leaders have kicked the can down the road to a special meeting in Brussels on June 30.

But Tusk confirmed Friday that conversations would continue with top EU leaders at the G20, adding that he had held ’12 or 13 phone calls’ with other EU players.

‘What I feel is that we are closer to the solution but still too far to say something more concrete today.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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