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Trump aides play down G-20 tensions over climate


SOURCE: HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s second official visit to Europe (all times local):

President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser is playing down tensions between the U.S. and other nations on issues like climate change and trade as Trump heads home from a summit in Germany.

Gary Cohn tells reporters aboard Air Force One that there’s nothing unexpected about seeing “a diversity of opinions in a group of 20.”

He says, “to get 20 of your friends to agree to have dinner tonight is pretty hard.”

Nineteen of the Group of 20 member nations reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord Saturday as part of the summit’s final statement. Trump has announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the global effort to combat global warming.

Officials did reach a common statement about another contentious issue: trade. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says there was “incredible consensus” on the issue, and he says the U.S. pushed to include words about “reciprocal” trade.

The White House says President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed their commitment to bringing “all nations together” to counter the threat posed by North Korea.

A statement Saturday following their meeting in Hamburg, Germany, said that Trump said “the United States is prepared to use the full range of capabilities” in defense of Japan.

North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, prompting the U.S. to rally behind its regional allies, including Japan and South Korea.

Trump and Abe committed “to redoubling their efforts to bring all nations together to show North Korea that there are consequences for its threatening and unlawful actions.”

Trump has been particularly critical of China’s financial support of North Korea and met separately on Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping to press for cooperation.

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6:22 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has no issues with Ivanka Trump briefly taking her father’s seat during an official event at the Group of 20 summit.

A photo posted on Twitter by a Russian delegation member showed President Donald Trump’s daughter in his chair Saturday. The White House says Trump had stepped out of the room and Ivanka Trump moved forward when the head of the World Bank discussed topics affected by a new women’s entrepreneurship fund she spearheaded.

Merkel told reporters that delegations decide themselves who sits at the table when their president isn’t there. She noted that “Ivanka Trump belonged to the American delegation, so that is in line with what other delegations do. And it is known that she works at the White House and carries responsibility for certain initiatives."

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he thinks President Donald Trump believed his in-person denials of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Putin spoke Saturday after the Group of 20 summit, where he and Trump had their first face-to-face meeting.

He said Trump asked him numerous questions about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election during a lengthy discussion on the issue.

Putin says he thinks his answers satisfied Trump, but added that Trump’s opinion would be better sought from the U.S. president himself.

Putin said he gave detailed answers, including about his conversations with representatives of the Obama administration. He added he wouldn’t divulge their details as the exchanges were confidential. “He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers.”

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4:25 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says 19 members of the Group of 20 have reaffirmed the Paris climate accord as “irreversible.”

Merkel said Saturday that the summit’s final statement “takes account” of the U.S. position rejecting the climate deal.

That leaves the United States as the odd one out after President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement. The Paris accord aims to lower emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists say cause global warming.

Merkel called the U.S. position “regrettable.”

Officials did reach a common statement including Trump about the other contentious issue at the summit, trade.

The statement retains the G-20′s longstanding rejection of protectionism. But it also acknowledged that trade must be mutually beneficial and that countries can use “legitimate” trade defenses to protect workers and industries against being taken advantage of by trade partners.

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4:23 p.m.

The White House says that President Donald Trump held a brief, unscheduled meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday that Trump and Erdogan chatted briefly on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Sanders says the two leaders discussed the situation in Syria.

The U.S. and Russia announced an agreement for a cease-fire in southwest Syria during the G-20 summit.

Trump and Erdogan held extended talks at the White House in May.

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4:14 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he told the Chinese president that “something has to be done” about North Korea.

Trump and President Xi Jinping met Saturday in Hamburg, Germany, days after Trump tweeted about his frustration over China’s inaction.

Trump told Xi “I appreciate the things that you have done” with North Korea. North Korea’s latest missile launch has prompted global calls for action.

The U.S. recently blacklisted one Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea and is penalizing a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese individuals accused of facilitating illegal activities by the North.

Trump says he also discussed “trade and trade imbalances” with Xi and aims to reach an arrangement that is more “equitable” and “reciprocal.”

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3:20 p.m.

A photograph of President Donald Trump’s daughter sitting in her father’s seat during an official event at the Group of 20 world leaders’ summit is raising eyebrows.

A White House official says Ivanka Trump took her father’s seat briefly on Saturday when the president stepped out of the room.

The official said Ivanka Trump had been sitting in the back of the room, and moved forward when the president of the World Bank began discussing topics affected by a new women’s entrepreneurship fund she spearheaded.

The official said that when other leaders stepped out, their seats were also briefly filled by others.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

The photo was posted on Twitter by Svetlana Lukash, a Russian official attending the summit.

- By Ken Thomas

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3:12 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump and his Indonesian counterpart “underscored their resolve to defeat terrorist networks in South Asia.”

A statement Saturday following Trump’s meeting with President Joko Widodo in Hamburg, Germany, stressed the “importance of isolating terrorists from financial and ideological support.”

The two leaders pledged to “coordinate closely on other threats to international security, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”

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