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G20 Live Updates: U.S. and China Agree to Restart Trade Talks

The United States and China have agreed to resume trade talks, President Trump said on Saturday after meeting with Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

During a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump said that the United States would not impose any new tariffs on Chinese exports as the talks resume.

Mr. Trump said China had agreed to resume broad purchases of American farm products and other goods. In a surprising move, the president appeared to backtrack on a ban on the sale of American equipment to Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant.

“U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Mr. Trump said, explaining that he wanted to help American technology companies that had complained about the ban.

In May, the Commerce Department put Huawei on a blacklist that prohibits American companies from selling equipment to Huawei. The move was a major blow to Huawei, which relies on chips, software and other equipment from the United States.

Mr. Trump said that any comprehensive resolution of the many issues involved in American legal action against Huawei would not be possible until other bilateral issues have been resolved.

But the United States also appears to have made progress. According to President Trump, China will resume at least some of its purchases of American farm goods and other products while the Trump administration keeps in place the 25 percent tariffs it previously imposed on nearly half of China’s annual exports to the United States.

The negotiations had broken down seven weeks ago when the Chinese side said that it could not accept some provisions that had been tentatively agreed to in an incomplete draft text.

“We discussed a lot of things, and we’re right back on track,” Mr. Trump told reporters early Saturday afternoon following his meeting with President Xi.

When talks broke down in early May, Mr. Trump had directed his aides to make the legal preparations to put 25 percent tariffs on another $ 300 billion a year worth of American imports from China. Those tariffs would be in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration has already imposed on $ 250 billion a year of Chinese goods.

President Trump said on Saturday that he would visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Sunday and publicly invited Kim Jong-un, the North’s iron-fisted leader, to meet him there for what would be their third get-together.

In a post on Twitter as he started the second of two days of meetings in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Trump said that during his next stop, in South Korea, he would be happy to greet Mr. Kim across the line that has divided Korea for nearly 75 years.

North Korea indicated on Saturday that it would welcome such a meeting.

“I consider this a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received any official proposal,” Choe Son-hui, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, said in a brief statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Mr. Trump’s tweet caught the diplomatic corps in Asia and even the president’s own advisers off balance, since the last meeting between the two leaders, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, ended in dramatic failure, and no further substantive talks have taken place.

But Mr. Trump likes to be unpredictable and has made clear repeatedly in recent days that he is eager to restart negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. He told reporters that Saturday morning’s tweet was spontaneous. “I just thought of it this morning,” he said. “We’ll be there, and I just put out a feeler.”

And yet, in reality, he had been toying with the idea for days. The Hill, a Capitol Hill news organization, reported on Saturday after his tweet that Mr. Trump had actually signaled his interest in the idea during an interview on Monday, saying he “might” try to meet with Mr. Kim during an already planned but secret trip to the DMZ. The White House asked that his comment not be reported because of security concerns.

Mr. Moon’s office issued a statement supporting more contact with Mr. Kim without confirming any meeting this weekend. “Nothing has been decided, but our position remains unchanged that we want dialogue to happen between North Korea and the U.S.,” the statement said.

Coming into the G20 summit in Osaka, climate change stood out as a clear area of dispute among the world leaders. President Trump has signaled that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, while President Emmanuel Macron of France threatened earlier this week that he would not sign any joint statement unless it dealt with climate change, which he called a “red line.”

In a clear move to prevent the group from splintering, the final statement that leaders agreed to at the summit’s conclusion on Saturday reflected an agree-to-disagree approach.

The statement said that signatories to the Paris Agreement that confirmed their commitment to the pact at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires last year “reaffirm their commitment to its full implementation.” But the statement also declared that the United States reiterated “its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers.”

Speaking to reporters after the close of the final general session of the summit, Prime Minister Shinzo of Abe of Japan, the host of the meeting, acknowledged that there had been “major differences in opinions” on climate change.

“But to hand over a better planet to the next generation is shared by everyone,” Mr. Abe said. “I believe what is important is to deliver outcomes,” he added. “So rather than focus on confrontation, we focused on the commonalities of the G20. We thought the G20 must deliver a common statement, otherwise we would not have lived up to our mandate.”

Until the statement was released, there were questions about whether the Trump administration’s desire to water down prescriptions on reducing carbon emissions and Mr. Macron’s insistence on recommitting to targets in the Paris Agreement would prevent the group from issuing a joint statement. That would have been a huge embarrassment for Mr. Abe, who faces an election in July in the upper house of Parliament.

President Trump lashed out at Jimmy Carter after the former American president questioned the legitimacy of his election victory, saying he won in 2016 with the help of Russian meddling.

“Jimmy Carter, look. He’s a nice man. He was a terrible president,” Trump said in response to a question during a G20 news conference. “He’s a Democrat, and it’s a typical talking point.”

“I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself,” he added. “I went out and campaigned smarter, harder, better than Hillary Clinton.”

Not for the first time, Mr. Trump showed deep personal frustration over the idea that he had not earned his 2016 election victory — a notion Mr. Carter endorsed on Friday, making him among the nation’s most senior Democrats to say so.

Speaking in Virginia on Friday, Mr. Carter said that Russian election interference, “if fully investigated, would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

The American intelligence community concluded in 2017 that Russia had tried to assist Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, but did not draw a conclusion about whether the Kremlin’s efforts — including the propagation of misleading information online — had swayed enough voters to affect the election outcome. No evidence has emerged that the Russian meddling affected voting machines or the final vote count.

Mr. Trump set off an uproar after his Friday meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, whom American intelligence officials assessed to have ordered the election interference. Asked whether he would ask Mr. Putin not to interfere with the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Trump playfully wagged a finger and said to him, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

Asked at his news conference whether that comment had been insincere, Mr. Trump defended himself, saying: “I did say it. And I did discuss it a little bit after that.” An official White House summary of the meeting between the two men did not make reference to the subject, however.

“You know he denies it totally, by the way,” Mr. Trump added.

President Trump lavished praise on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, depicting him as a revolutionary figure who is modernizing his country and fighting terrorism, while ignoring evidence of his complicity in the murder of the writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Hosting Prince Mohammed for breakfast, Mr. Trump ignored questions from reporters about the prince’s role in the killing and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident, last October. Instead, the president portrayed the crown prince as a reformer opening up a long-closed society, specifically citing more freedom for women.

“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Mr. Trump told the crown prince. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you. You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The president also credited the Saudi royal family with cutting off aid to terrorist and extremist groups. “All of the money that was going for groups we don’t like has ceased, and I appreciate that very much,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve carefully followed it, we’ve studied it very carefully and you have actually stopped.”

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia finally granted women the right to drive a year ago, but progress toward more expansive women’s rights remains scant, and activists fighting for such rights have been arrested and face trial. In April, Prince Mohammed expanded his crackdown on even mild dissent with the arrests of at least nine intellectuals, journalists, activists and their relatives, including two with dual American citizenship.

The C.I.A. has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a longtime Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for The Washington Post while living in the United States. A United Nations investigator last week pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed as well.

While not addressing that on Saturday, Mr. Trump has recently played down the murder, saying that American arms sales to Saudi Arabia were too important to disrupt.

Source: NYT > World News

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