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G-20 to Focus on Trade, Climate Change 06/27 06:18

   OSAKA, Japan (AP) -- Trade and geopolitical tensions, and the looming threat 
of climate change, are on the agenda as the presidents of the United States and 
China and other world leaders gather in Osaka, Japan, for a summit of the Group 
of 20 major economies.

   While prospects for detente in the trade war between the U.S. and China are 
in the spotlight, many participating are calling for a broader perspective in 
tackling global crises.

   "This will be a difficult G-20, there are global challenges to be met, we 
need to step up to avoid the climate threats ... reform the World Trade 
Organization and prepare for the digital revolution," Donald Tusk, president of 
the European Union Council, said at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister 
Shinzo Abe.

   The summit comes at a time of growing international tensions, for example, 
over Iran's nuclear deal, as well as disputes between the United States and 
China over trade and technology.

   President Donald Trump arrived Thursday evening and was due to meet with 
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday as the G-20 meetings conclude. 
Accompanying him were U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce 
Secretary Wilbur Ross.

   A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said China intends to defend 
itself against further U.S. moves to penalize it over trade friction.

   Threats by Trump to impose more tariffs on Chinese exports "won't work on us 
because the Chinese people don't believe in heresy and are not afraid of 
pressure," Geng Shuang said.

   China has sought to gain support for defending global trade agreements 
against Trump's "America First" stance in gatherings like the G-20.

   The state-run Xinhua News Agency published a commentary Thursday noting that 
the G-20's rise to prominence came with leaders' efforts to contain the damage 
from the 2008 global financial crisis.

   "While the global economic recovery remains fragile, it now encounters a 
surge of anti-free trade rhetoric and protectionist measures that threaten to 
upend the rules-based multilateral trading regime," it said.

   Xi was also expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe on Thursday 
evening, seeking a breakthrough after years of strain over territorial 
disputes. It is his first visit to Japan since he became China's top leader in 
2013.

   A visit by Xi to North Korea last week raised hopes for some movement in the 
impasse with the U.S. over the North's nuclear program. Trump is due to visit 
South Korea after leaving Japan, raising speculation there may be more news on 
Korean issues during his Asian travels.

   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.

   Abe has sought to make the Osaka summit a landmark for progress on 
environmental issues, including climate change. French President Emmanuel 
Macron reinforced that message on Wednesday during a state visit to Tokyo, 
where he described climate change as a "red line" issue for endorsing a G-20 
communique.

   "It's the moment to be truly in time in the face of history and to fulfill 
our responsibility," Macron said. "I will not sign if we don't go further in 
our ambition about climate change. That would mean all those summits are for 
nothing."

   On the periphery of the Osaka meetings, activists belonging to a coalition 
of 50 environmental groups protested outside a coal-fired power plant in the 
nearby port city of Kobe.

   They chanted "No coal Japan!" while raising an inflatable depicting Abe, 
taking aim at his efforts to promote such projects across the globe. They also 
want more aggressive efforts by the Japanese government to help curb climate 
change.

   Japan is one of the largest funders of coal-fired power stations overseas, 
having ramped up their use inside the country after most nuclear power plants 
were idled following the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The effort to 
offset the loss of the generating capacity has slowed Japan's own progress in 
curbing the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

   "We made this balloon and organized this protest to make him feel 
embarrassed, have him feel the pressure inside and outside Japan," said Hanna 
Song of the Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society. "We want 
him to stop funding coal and not to make climate change worse."

   The leaders, arriving steadily throughout the day under heavy monsoon rains, 
were well insulated from such protests by the security blanketing Osaka, a 
business center of 2.7 million in western Japan.

   The authorities closed roads and brought in platoons of extra police.


(KA)

 
 
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