Leaders from the world’s leading economies broke with U.S. President Donald Trump on climate policy at a G20 summit on Saturday, in a rare public admission of disagreement and blow to multilateral cooperation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, keen to show off her skills as a mediator two months before a German election, achieved her primary goal at the meeting in Hamburg, convincing her fellow leaders to support a single communique with pledges on trade, finance, energy and Africa.
But the divide between Trump, elected on a pledge to put “America First”, and the 19 other members of the club, including countries as diverse as Japan, Saudi Arabia and Argentina, was stark.
Last month Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of a landmark international climate accord clinched two years ago in Paris.
Trump’s shift to a more unilateral, transactional diplomacy has left a void in global leadership, unsettling traditional allies in Europe and opening the door to rising powers like China to assume a bigger role.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing dominated the run-up to the meeting, with the Trump administration ratcheting up pressure on President Xi Jinping to rein in North Korea and threatening punitive trade measures on steel.
Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time in Hamburg, a hotly anticipated encounter after the former real estate mogul promised a rapprochement with Moscow during his campaign, only to be thwarted by accusations of Russian meddling in the vote and investigations into the Russia ties of Trump associates.
Putin said at the conclusion of the summit on Saturday that Trump had quizzed him on the alleged meddling in a meeting that lasted over two hours but seemed to have been satisfied with the Kremlin leader’s denials of interference. (Reuters)