G20 summit opens as leaders give Saudi prince mixed reception

From left, sitting, are Trump, Britain Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mohammed bin Salman. The two men beamed widely and clasped hands.

The two countries are also at odds militarily over China's extensive claims in the South China Sea and US warship movements through the highly sensitive Taiwan Strait. "And we'll see", Trump said.

"I think the most likely scenario is that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping doesn't offer big enough concessions to Trump, and so nothing much comes of the G20 meeting", said Julian Evans-Pritchard from Capital Economics.

World leaders began arriving in Argentina ahead of a G20 summit dogged by increasingly strident warnings about the impact on the world economy of threatened USA trade tariffs.

Economic troubles could spread much further if Trump goes through on a threat to impose auto tariffs on trading partners including Europe and Japan, the International Monetary Fund warned in a pre-G20 report.

One potential bright spot at the summit could be the signing of a revised US-Mexico-Canada trade pact.

Joining other forecasters, economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development last week downgraded their outlook for global economic growth next year to 3.5 percent from a previous 3.7 percent.

China has responded with tariffs on $110 billion in USA goods, but Chinese officials say they still aren't clear what exactly the US wants from it and Xi will likely attempt to gain more clarity and possibly put forward new proposals.

Mr Trump said: "Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russian Federation, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin".

Officials familiar with the meeting's planning said Trump himself determined Navarro, who flew to Argentina about Air Force One on Thursday, should attend.

Oil Slides Toward Worst Loss in a Decade as Russia Mixes Signals
OPEC and its partners, including Russian Federation , are scheduled to meet in Vienna next week to decide on production targets. The outcome of next week's OPEC meeting "remains clouded by uncertainty", Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM told Bloomberg.

A White House spokeswoman denied this and Trump said on Friday the ships' seizure was the "sole reason" he scratched the meeting.

The Kremlin said it had not been notified and only learned about it from the tweet. Persistent disputes with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - including over USA steel and aluminum tariffs - led to questions about who precisely from the Canadian side would be doing the signing.

Despite Trump's dismissal of concerns about global warming, China, France and the United Nations came together Friday to pledge their support for the Paris climate accord.

The G20 started with a group photo and a warm handshake between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who is accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bin Salman told Macron not to worry, but Macron countered, "I am anxious".

As President Donald Trump prepares to sit down with China's President Xi this weekend, Trump said Thursday that the administration is "very close" to reaching a deal to end the trade showdown between the two major economies even as he also sought to downplay the importance of making such a deal.

Already the French Presidency has said that Emmanuel Macron spoke to the Crown Prince on the summit's sidelines about both the journalist's murder and Saudi's role in the war in Yemen, which the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia maintains that the Crown Prince had no knowledge of the killing.

A Kremlin spokesman said Putin was ready to continue talks with Trump. However, it is being reported that Ms Merkel still plans to have her one-on-one with Mr Putin, with the pair set to meet on Saturday morning.

There are also questions about how to handle the awkward presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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