Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Wednesday to seek a consensus on trade and other contentious issues when he chairs this week’s summit of the Group of 20 countries in Osaka.
Abe stressed the importance of global leaders overcoming their differences and joining hands in tackling difficult issues to send a strong message to the rest of the world.
“I hope to lead the summit by patiently finding common ground in order to achieve concrete results, rather than stressing or focusing on differences of opinion,” Abe told a news conference marking the end of the parliamentary session. He said he hopes to send “strong messages” on a wide range of issues.
Abe, seeking to demonstrate his leadership as Japan hosts the G-20 summit for the first time, is pushing for agreements on less divisive issues such as handling of plastic waste. But he also has to steer the discussions on protectionism and other difficult topics.
G-20 finance ministers who gathered in Fukuoka in southern Japan earlier this month avoided using phrases such as “fight protectionism” in a joint statement.
Abe also expressed hope that the U.S. and China will resolve their trade dispute when their leaders meet during and on the sidelines of the summit on Friday and Saturday.
Planned talks between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday are receiving extensive attention and are almost eclipsing the main G-20 conference.
“Regarding the U.S.-China trade dispute, I expect the United States and China will constructively resolve the problem through dialogue,” Abe said.
Abe also called for international efforts to restore peace in the Middle East, where tensions have escalated amid a dispute between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal.
Germany’s Merkel Doesn’t See G-20 Resolving Global Conflicts
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is downplaying suggestions that the G-20 summit could play a major role in resolving conflicts such as the standoff between Iran and the U.S.
Merkel said as she answered lawmakers’ questions in the German parliament Wednesday that G-20 summits offer the chance to hold talks on the sidelines which can help resolve security policy issues but countries shouldn’t “overload” the format. She said its focus remains on economic issues following the financial crisis a decade ago.
Merkel added: “I am under no illusion about the clout of the G-20 regarding foreign policy questions that can’t be resolved in the U.N. Security Council.”
G-20 leaders will gather in Osaka on Friday and Saturday.
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