G20 summit begins today in Germany: North Korea, climate, trade to dominate agenda

It is expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reinforce India’s commitment to the Paris climate accord and renewable energy.

The two-day G-20 Summit kicks off today in the German city of Hamburg where leaders from the world’s 20 major economies will be meeting to discuss key issues, among which climate change and global trade are expected to take centrestage.

The success of the summit will rely heavily on Donald Trump and Angela Merkel finding common ground on a range of pressing issues. Trump’s first time at the G-20 Summit is clouded by US’ plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change after the G7 summit in May.

Closer home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be heading to Hamburg after a three-day visit to Israel, will most likely reinforce India’s commitment to the Paris climate pact and renewable energy.

He is also likely to express his reservations over the trade protectionism advocated by some economies.

On the sidelines, PM Modi will hold a meeting with BRICS leaders ahead of the G20 summit. He will also likely be holding talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting acquires significance as India and China are currently in the middle of a military standoff at the India-Bhutan-China trijunction in Sikkim sector of the border.

However, China said on Thursday that there is no possibility of a bilateral meeting between two leaders as “the atmosphere is not right.”

According to the 2015 Paris climate accord, 196 countries including the US, had agreed to the take steps to keep the global rise in temperatures well below two degrees Celsius.

As soon as Trump vowed to pull out from the Paris accord, world leaders across the spectrum criticised his decision. India, China, Canada, and other European countries including G20 president Germany reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement.

Since the United States is the second largest emitter of the carbon in the world, commentators are eagerly watching whether world leaders will decide to go on a collision course with President Trump.

US and Them

Given the US president’s unpredictable nature, his meetings with various world leaders will be scrutinised the world over.

As confirmed by various sources in the US government, Trump will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit. The meeting assumes significance amid renewed doubts over Russian meddling in last November’s US Presidential elections. The FBI is currently conducting a probe in the matter.

In addition, the two leaders are embroiled in several contentious foreign policy issues — bombing Russia’s ally Syria, hostilities in Ukraine and Moscow’s “meek” support for North Korea.

Another interesting meeting would be between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Their interaction would come just after US approval of USD 1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan. Add to it the US warship sailing near the disputed islands in the South China Sea on Sunday.

North Korea

On Tuesday, North Korea successfully test-launched its first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) named Hwasong 14 as “a gift” to the US on their Independence Day.

The missile, which has an estimated range of 6,700 km, comes as a blow to Trump, who had earlier said Pyongyang’s goal of having an ICBM “won’t happen”.

The reclusive state’s latest bravado is expected to overshadow all other trade and diplomatic disputes.

The US President expects China to contain North Korea, as he mentioned in a series of tweets. However, a few tweets later, he ridiculed China claiming that “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter.”

Global Trade

As countries across the world are trying to deal with the steel overcapacity crisis, the US President’s “Buy American, Hire American” policy has made life more difficult for other world leaders.

The crisis has forced the steel giants like India’s Tata Steel to cut production and go for consolidation.

In March, Japan, the second largest producer of steel in the world, had approached the World Trade Organisation (WTO) alleging that duties imposed on steel imports by India violate trade norms.

 

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