G20 leaders’ joint declaration again omits ‘protectionism’

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a press conference in Osaka on Saturday to wrap up the Group of 20 summit talks.

By Osamu Maruyama / Japan News Staff WriterOSAKA — The Group of 20 summit closed its two-day meeting on Saturday, adopting the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration. Amid mounting trade friction between the United States and China, the joint statement — like the one adopted at last year’s G20 summit — does not include words such as “fight against protectionism.”

Instead, the declaration says: “Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified. We will continue to address these risks, and stand ready to take further action.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who chaired the meeting, stressed, “We were able to clearly reaffirm fundamental principles for free trade, such as a free, fair, nondiscriminatory and open market,” while speaking at the G20 presidency press conference held after the meeting.

World Trade Organization reform was also an important agenda item at the meeting. G20 leaders agreed to “reaffirm our support for the necessary reform” of the WTO to improve its functions, including a dispute settlement system, according to the declaration.

To promote cross-border data exchange, Abe has announced Japan will organize a meeting of the “Osaka Track,” a multilateral framework for discussing the creation of rules for the digital economy, as early as next month. The declaration says that “data free flow with trust will harness the opportunities for the digital economy.”

On the issue of marine plastic litter, which is flowing into the sea and regarded as a major ocean pollutant, the leaders agreed to reduce additional pollution to zero by 2050, Abe said. To achieve this goal, included in the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” which was shared at the G20 summit, Japan has expressed its policy to support developing countries in fields including waste management and recovery of marine plastic litter.

Saudi Arabia will take over the G20 presidency from Japan in December.

Japan-U.S. security pact ‘unfair’

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty needs to be changed, calling it “an unfair agreement.”

Speaking at a press conference in Osaka, the U.S. leader said, “If somebody attacks Japan, we go after them and we are in a battle ... if somebody should attack the United States, they don’t have to do that.”

Describing it as “typical” of unfair agreements the United States has entered in the past, Trump said he has spoken to Abe about how he feels for the past six months.

“I told him we’re going to have to change it,” Trump said.

However, in direct response to a question about any possibility of Washington withdrawing from the pact, the U.S. president answered, “No, I’m not thinking about that at all.”

Last week, Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the bilateral security treaty in a TV interview.Speech

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