Trump insists all is well at G7, even as disputes boil

Marco Green
August 25, 2019

European Council President Donald Tusk and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traded barbs over who would go down in history as "Mr. I have second thoughts about everything".

Despite the more nuanced comments on Sunday, Mr Trump doubled down on the rationale for his high-risk strategy with China, saying "they steal and take out, and - intellectual property theft, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year".

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he did not expect China to retaliate further.

"This morning in the bilat with the United Kingdom, the President was asked if he had 'any second thought on escalating the trade war with China.' His answer has been greatly misinterpreted". Trump replied. Reporters asked again whether he had second thoughts.

The missile launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Sitting across from Trump on Sunday, he said: "We're in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can".

Trump appeared to be trying to de-escalate tensions with China over concerns that a global economic slowdown could be spreading to the U.S.

A "dream result" would be the European Union, U.S. and Japan agreeing to jointly tackle their trade issues with China, but "with America-First Trump that seems too much to hope for", he said.

Trump insisted the meal was their best meeting ever.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the summit beginning later Saturday, has made clear that he has little expectation that Trump will join any statement on fighting climate change even as the issue shot to the top of the agenda with the widespread fires in the Amazon.

Johnson, who praised Trump for America's economic performance, also chided the US leader for his unbending China policy.

"Just to register a faint sheeplike note of our view on the trade war", he told Trump. "Everybody's getting along. I think we will accomplish a lot this weekend", he said.

"In many ways, that's an emergency".

Trump then entered the first official summit meeting, initially set as a discussion of foreign policy and security issues.

About five hours after Trump's statements, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said reporters were misinterpreting them.

Markets tumbled on Friday as Trump escalated that fight.

France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Germany, the European Union and Canada are expected to talk trade and work to resolve disputes, including the escalation of tariffs between the US and China.

But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump's comments about USA tariffs on China were "greatly misinterpreted".

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host, cornered Donald Trump at the American leader's hotel with an impromptu lunch invitation.

President Donald Trump wishes he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher, the White House said on Sunday, seeking to clarify earlier remarks that suggested Trump regretted his decision on Friday to escalate his trade war with China.

France said G7 leaders had agreed that Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran.

Trump disputed that he had signed off on any such message. "So the answer is nobody's told me that". Tensions between the US and Iran have risen in recent years over Iran's nuclear program, and its role in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East.

Macron listed foreign policy issues the two would address, including Libya, Syria and North Korea, adding that they shared the objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It was unclear if anyone from the Iranian delegation would meet with Trump or USA officials at the summit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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