OSAKA, Japan (AP) — A summit of the Group of 20 on Saturday was largely eclipsed by President Donald Trump’s talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and by Trump’s announcement via Twitter that he wants to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The day’s agenda kicked off with a brief meeting on promoting the economic empowerment of women, one of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s missions since he took office in late 2012.
The leaders then began talks on other priorities, including the pressing issue of committing to faster progress in countering climate change, which many participating hope will be included in a slew of concerns incorporated into a communique as the meetings wrap up.
“In our view, climate change will determine the destiny of mankind, so it is imperative that our generation makes the right choices,” Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, said in a news conference with his French counterpart and U.N. Secretary- General Antonio Guterres.
The G-20 leaders have long sought to present a united front in promoting open markets and calling for smart policies to fend off threats to global economic growth. But the schisms over such issues as protectionism and migration are straining efforts to forge the usual consensus on a broad array of policy approaches and geopolitical issues.
Using Twitter, Trump caused a stir Saturday when he invited North Korea’s Kim to shake hands during a visit the U.S. president planned to make to the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas on Sunday. “If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
“All I did is put out a feeler if you’d like to meet,” Trump said later of the invitation, adding that he’s not sure of Kim’s whereabouts.
Trump has at times found himself at odds with other leaders in such international events, particularly on issues such as Iran, climate change and trade.
China has often sought support for defending global trade agreements against Trump’s “America First” stance in gatherings like the G-20.
The highlight of Trump’s visit to Osaka was a meeting Saturday with Xi that has raised hopes the world’s two largest economies might resume talks over their festering dispute over technology and China’s chronic trade surplus.
The two sides have levied billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other’s products. In Beijing on Friday, officials urged the U.S. side to meet China halfway in resolving the standoff.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin were with Trump in Osaka, suggesting potential for some movement after 11 rounds of talks with China stalled in May.
Abe has sought to make the Osaka summit a landmark for progress on environmental issues, including climate change, and cooperation in developing new rules for the “digital economy,” such as devising fair ways to tax companies like Google and Facebook. It also includes strengthening precautions against abuse of technologies such as cybercurrencies to fund terrorism and other types of internet-related crimes.
At the meeting on women’s empowerment, Ivanka Trump, adviser to Trump, said Saturday that the world economy would get a boost of up to $28 trillion by 2025 if women were on an equal economic footing. She was speaking at a special session on the issue at the G-20 summit in Osaka that included her father. She described improving the status of women as “smart economic and defense policy.”
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the U.N. secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, said “it is really necessary to close this gap for women to be economically empowered.”