The G20 summit opened Friday in the western Japanese city of Osaka, with geopolitical tensions and trade set to dominate talks.
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US President Donald Trump met with the host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, before holding bilateral talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking to reporters, he praised trade ties between the two countries and described Merkel as “a great friend of mine.”
Merkel arrived in Osaka early Friday, a day after suffering an episode of shaking that had led to questions about her health.
Putin-Trump relationship ‘very good’
The US president also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was later due to sit down with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ahead of his meeting with Putin, Trump spoke of their “very, very good relationship,” adding that it was “a great honor” to be with him. The two leaders last held face-to-face talks in Helsinki in July.
When a reporter in Osaka asked Trump, “Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?” he turned to Putin with a smile and said “Don’t meddle in the election.”
One of the most anticipated events of the summit is the planned meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday.
The two countries are locked in a damaging trade war, and many leaders will be eagerly watching to see if they can manage to strike an agreement to end hostilities.
The last time Trump and Xi met face to face was at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in December.
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