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G20 leaders gather with many outcomes uncertain

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Japan NewsOSAKA — The first summit of the Group of 20 major economies to be held in Japan opens on Friday in Osaka. In the two-day meeting, leaders from around the world are set to discuss issues including the global economy at a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings.

With trade friction on the rise, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold the most-watched meeting of the summit on Saturday. Trade will also be on the agenda during talks between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe is expected to express concern over protectionism and emphasize the importance of free trade.

Meanwhile, Trump is holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since July 2018. With the countries currently at loggerheads over nuclear disarmament and regional conflicts, the focus will be on whether and how far U.S.-Russia relations will improve.

Trump is also meeting with European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They are expected to discuss rising tensions with Iran.

Meanwhile, Abe will likely find it difficult to resolve pending issues with countries such as the United States and Russia at bilateral meetings in Osaka. Abe’s diplomatic abilities will be put to the test ahead of the House of Councillors election this summer.

Abe and Trump are meeting for the third straight month. Trump hinted that Japan and the United States may be nearing an agreement in bilateral trade negotiations during a meeting in Tokyo in May. However, Japan expects little progress in Osaka because of wide differences between the countries on agricultural tariffs and other issues.

Abe and Putin are likely to discuss issues related to the northern territories at their summit meeting, but no major progress is expected. The two countries are unlikely to reach an agreement on a framework to facilitate travel to the northern territories aimed at enabling joint economic activities there.

It is also unlikely that Japan and South Korea will hold a summit as relations worsen over the issue of South Koreans who were wartime requisitioned workers.Speech

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