G-20 nations agree on trade, migration; not climate change

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires

Global leaders were expected to back an overhaul of the world body that regulates worldwide trade disputes at a summit on Saturday, delegates said, ahead of high-stakes talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at defusing a trade war.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend at the G20 summit conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 30, 2018.

The two-day summit beginning today is supposed to focus on development, infrastructure and food security, but those seemed largely an afterthought amid soured US-European relations and as the United States, Mexico and Canada hammered out the final language of a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement expected to be signed today.

"At dinner we talked", Putin said during a press conference in Buenos Aires, referencing his encounter with the U.S. president at the G20 summit.

Meanwhile, two men under heavy criticism from the West lately - Russian president Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - appeared to seek refuge in each other, bonding with a tough-guy hand grab as the leaders sat down for talks. Human Rights Watch asked Argentine prosecutors to investigate him for human rights abuses.

However, questions about whether Trump's real motive was to avoid embarrassment about a deepening probe back home over improper links to Russian Federation would not die down. But enough has been tweaked for Trump to declare victory on behalf of the United States workers he claims were cheated by NAFTA.

He nevertheless described the Macri-Trump meeting as "extremely cordial" overall.

Since March, Trump and Xi have engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war and saber-rattling as the rest of the world waits to see who blinks first.

A 3.8-magnitude quake has struck 33 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, Argentina where several world leaders including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have gathered for the G20 summit.

However the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, said he would be surprised if Mr Trump's working dinner with Mr Xi "wasn't a success".

Putin and Saudi Crown Prince 'high five' at G20 photo op
Riyadh has long sought to distance the crown prince from the incident, despite increasing evidence directly linking him to it. The de facto Saudi leader denies having prior knowledge of Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Some of them carried placards reading: "They want war and we won't leave them in peace".

May told British media she meant to use the summit to sell the vision of a "global Britain" after its Brexit departure from the European Union, scheduled for March next year.

"China will make efforts to further open its door to the outside world", Xi told the Spanish Senate.

"If we continue along the current course, the economic risks will increase, with potential effects for growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world", WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said last week.

That "really puts a damper on it, to be honest", Trump said.

Meanwhile on the Paris climate agreement, from which the USA announced its intention to withdraw past year, the documents says that the signatories "reaffirm that the Paris Agreement is irreversible and commit to its full implementation, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances".

A White House spokeswoman later denied that Trump said the ships' seizure was the "sole reason" he cancelled the anticipated meeting.

The two leaders have met twice after their informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April - once at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held in June in China's Qingdao and the second time at the BRICS summit in South Africa's Johannesburg in July. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia over the incident, is also in attendance.

Saudi Arabia has insisted the prince had no prior knowledge of the killing.

Argentine president Mauricio Macri kicked off the summit by acknowledging divisions within the G20 while urging world leaders to have a "sense of urgency" and take actions "based on shared interests".

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