U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Japan Thursday for the G20 summit, where he’ll meet with world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The conference runs Friday and Saturday in Osaka, and occurs amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, China and Russia.
Trump attended a working dinner Thursday with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Imperial Hotel Osaka. Morrison, who just won re-election, asked Trump about his “America first” mentality and its effect on allies, including Japan and Australia.
“I can say very easily that we’ve been very good to our allies,” Trump answered. “We work with our allies. We take care of our allies. … And we even help our allies militarily.
“I think Australia is a good example. We’ve worked together very closely — just recently, on a big trade situation. We had a little bit of a trade deal going, and it worked out very well for both of us.”
Trump’s meeting Saturday with Xi will be critical as the nations near a new trade deal that could end an economic stalemate that will be a year old next week. Trump has said he wants to end the unfair practices China employs, including currency manipulation and theft of trade secrets. If the world’s two largest economies don’t reach a deal soon, Trump has threatened a new round of tariffs that would target remaining imports from China worth $300 billion.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators have agreed to a framework of a truce, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday. U.S. Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday a deal was “90 percent” done.
Some analysts don’t expect a new trade agreement this week, but rather a deal to keep negotiating.
“We’re going to be meeting with a lot of different countries, many of whom have been taking advantage of the United States, but not so much anymore,” Trump said Wednesday before leaving Washington for Osaka.
“We’ve been ripped off by everybody over the years. We’ll see what happens with China, with Russia, with Japan, with many countries.”
Trump could also talk with Xi about what to do next with North Korea, as talks have stalled with leader Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Trump will meet with Putin Friday, but he hasn’t given any hint about what they might discuss.
“What I say to him is none of your business,” Trump told reporters Wednesday.
Iran will likely be a topic of discussion after Trump ordered new sanctions this week against Tehran for recent military activity that includes the shootdown of a U.S. drone. Trump threatened this week to use “overwhelming force” against Iran if it attacks U.S. interests.
Trump is also expected to meet in Osaka with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Trump spoke with Mohammed last week after claims of evidence he ordered the death last fall of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.