Trump paints picture of unity at prickly G7 summit

Trump paints picture of unity at prickly G7 summit

President Donald Trump signaled regret Sunday for an escalating trade war with China, as he faces a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France.

But there is evidence of rancor behind the scenes, with American officials griping the yearly gathering is being orchestrated to isolate Trump and trade disputes spilling into the open- even with a new friend - as leaders huddle to discuss a flagging global economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump sits to lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron on the first day of the annual G7 Summit, at Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France August 24, 2019.

The meetings come days after Trump responded to China's announcement Friday that it would slap new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods with more tariffs of his own.

They said the move was a mark of defiance at Macron's politics and the image he is trying to present to world leaders at the summit in neighbouring Biarritz.

Mr Tusk used a pre-summit press conference to taunt Boris Johnson over Brexit and slam Donald Trump for his position on Russia, Iran and the escalating US-China trade war. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted", she said.

Trump, who prizes his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, told reporters the launches did not violate an agreement and were in line with what others were doing.

"This morning in the [meeting] with the United Kingdom, the president was asked if he had 'any second thought on escalating the trade war with China, ' " Grisham said in the statement. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now.

On Friday, Mr Trump responded to a new hike in Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods by imposing heavy extra levies against a total of US$550 billion (S$760 billion) in Chinese imports.

Macron has said the summit would not end with a final statement, as he had little expectation that Trump will agree to anything about fighting climate change even as the issue shot to the top of the agenda with the widespread fires in the Amazon.

Asked if the other leaders had criticised the massive trade struggle, he said: "No, not at all".

But Sunday, during a breakfast meeting with Johnson, Trump suggested he has qualms about the spiraling conflict.

Mr Trump said Japan had agreed to buy corn that USA farmers had been left with due to the tariffs imposed by China.

In their first meeting since the prime minister took office last month, the president said the United Kingdom chose the "right man for the job". "Does everybody know? He's going to be a fantastic prime minister I can tell you".

Trump said he was not considering taking that action at this time, however. One force that could push leaders together is their joint vulnerability to an economic slowdown, especially the ones who, like Trump, are facing elections in the next year or two.

Johnson faces what he called "tough talks" in the weeks and months ahead with the European Union as they hurtle toward a no-deal exit in October. "It involves agriculture and it involves e-commerce and many other things".

Trump and Abe said they expect to sign the deal around meetings of the United Nations General Assembly next month in NY.

And even Abe faced his own diplomatic tangle, as South Korea backed out of an intelligence sharing deal with Japan over a trade dispute - and over US objections.

Johnson said G7 leaders had a "lively" discussion about Russian Federation and Trump, asked if his case for Moscow to be brought back into the fold had made headway, said it was a "work in progress".

Germany and Britain both voiced deep concern about the fires, but said shooting down the ambitious Mercosur trade accord would not help save the Amazon.

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