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Thorny Issues, Big Egos Collide at G-20 Summit

  • VOA News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets U.S. President Donald Trump on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 6, 2017.

Heads of state of the world’s 20 leading economies are gathering in Hamburg, Germany, Friday for two days of meetings seeking compromises and answers to a range of issues, including financial market regulation, counterterrorism, climate change, supply chains and fighting pandemics.

Host German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she hopes the leaders will be able to find compromises and answers on many of the issues, although the prospects of finding common ground on climate change and trade were uncertain.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been at odds with other world leaders since pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and his “America First” policy regarding international trade. Trump has said he has “bold” plans to impose steep tariffs or quotas on steel imports, the latest and perhaps most serious of threats to protect U.S. industry, which has G-20 partners nervous.

The U.S. leader’s first face-to-face meeting Friday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is also highly anticipated. The U.S. intelligence community concluded Putin personally directed a campaign to discredit the quadrennial U.S. election and to damage the reputation of Trump’s opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Watch: Poland Offers Warm Welcome as Trump Backs NATO

In a speech Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, Trump accused Russia of engaging in “destabilizing behavior” in world affairs, a claim Moscow rejected.

The summit also brings together Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a time when Washington is ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea, after it test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, and is threatening the Chinese with punitive trade measures.

A car burns during a protest against the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 6, 2017.
A car burns during a protest against the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 6, 2017.

Meanwhile, police used water cannons to disperse dozens of anti-capitalist protesters blocking a road intersection in Hamburg. In all, more than 100,000 protesters are expected in Hamburg for the summit, with some 8,000 considered part of Europe’s violent left wing, according to police.

The northern port city has boosted its police with reinforcements from around the country and has 20,000 officers on hand to patrol Hamburg’s streets, skies and waterways.

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