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Trump plans to meet with Xi, Putin and Erdogan this week at G-20

President Donald Trump will meet with China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan while attending the Group of 20 summit later this week in Japan, White House officials confirmed on Monday.

[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump will meet with China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan while attending the Group of 20 summit later this week in Japan, White House officials confirmed on Monday.

Mr Trump also plans to meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about regional stability, an official said.

Mr Trump announced plans to meet with Mr Xi on Twitter last week after repeatedly threatening more tariffs if Xi spurned the opportunity. Mr Xi earlier said he's willing to meet with Mr Trump and exchange views, the state-run China Central Television reported. The meeting is likely to be on Saturday, the final day of the two-day summit, according to one of the officials.

Trade talks broke off last month after the US accused China's leaders of reneging on provisions of a tentative trade agreement, and Beijing said the US had raised its demands.

Mr Trump raised tariffs on about US$200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 per cent, and said he would expand the tariffs to cover another roughly US$300 billion in goods - essentially everything China exports to the US - unless the country's leaders reversed course.

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Mr Trump has said that China must return to concessions it made in earlier rounds of talks. The American president has repeated his claim that Chinese exporters pay the tariffs, disputing the consensus of economists that the costs are largely borne by US importers and consumers.

Mr Erdogan has said he plans to meet with Trump to discuss Turkey's plans to purchase a missile-defense system from Russia, which has drawn threats of US penalties that, at their most severe, could cripple the ailing Turkish economy and create further strains between Washington and a crucial Middle East partner that relies on it for arms, US officials familiar with the matter have said.

The Pentagon contends that integrating the Russian system into Mr Turkey's military, Nato's second-largest, could help Moscow gather critical intelligence on the stealth capabilities of American F-35 fighter planes, which Turkish manufacturers help to build. Mr Erdogan has dismissed the US argument and said Turkish military experts were good at deciding what to purchase.

Turkey has dug in on buying the Russian missile-defense system because trust in Washington has broken down on multiple fronts in recent years, and because Ankara is convinced the US can't replace Turkey strategically with another ally, people familiar with official thinking have said. The US views Turkey's grievances much differently.

The meeting with Mr Putin is expected to focus on regional security, arms control and improving relations between the two countries, one of the officials said. The two leaders are expected to discuss Iran and Syria.

Mr Putin may raise allegations over US cyberattacks against Russia while meeting with Mr Trump, according to the Kremlin. The US says Russia is trying to manipulate public opinion ahead of 2020 elections using social media after undertaking a similar campaign in 2016.

Mr Putin and Mr Trump could also discuss a number of other issues that have led to friction between the two countries.

Among them is Mr Trump's threat to sanction Russia's new natural gas pipeline into Europe. Blocking the Nord Stream 2 link under the Baltic Sea would be a blow to Russia, keeping it dependent on Ukraine as a gas export corridor at a time those two nations are locked in a dispute over the fuel transit.

Mr Trump also is seeking to carve out market share for liquefied natural gas shipments from the US Gulf Coast, which is growing rapidly after making its first overseas deliveries in 2016.

Mr Trump will meet with the Saudi crown prince less than a week after the US Senate voted to block arms sales to the kingdom. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have demanded greater scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over the military campaign it is leading in Yemen's civil war and over the killing of the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi last fall.

A United Nations expert assigned to investigate Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has recommended probing the possible role of Prince Mohammed.

Mr Trump is also expected to meet other world leaders at the summit, with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia; and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

Once the summit concludes, he will fly to South Korea for talks with President Moon Jae In.


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