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Politics & Government

Trump Meets World Leaders At G-20


President Trump met with the leaders of both China and Japan today as the G-20 summit wraps up in Germany. Of course, Mr. Trump met yesterday his first time as president with Vladimir Putin. NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president, joins us from Hamburg. Scott, thanks for being with us.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Presumably, they've talked about North Korea.

HORSLEY: Yes. North Korea was very much front and center in these back-to-back meetings that President Trump had this afternoon with President Xi of China and Prime Minister Abe of Japan. He said that Prime Minister Abe himself is very focused on the issue. And Abe said, speaking through an interpreter, that the threat from North Korea is becoming increasingly severe.

In his meeting with President Xi, Trump said that something has to be done, and he expressed confidence that they'll come to a successful conclusion on North Korea, though he added it might take longer than either he or Xi would like.

SIMON: And let me ask you about the meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. As we noted, it ran for more than a couple of hours, longer than expected. We know the subject of Russian meddling came up. President Trump apparently brought it up. There are different accounts about what happened and where it went from then. What do we know?

HORSLEY: Yes, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Trump brought it up right at the outset and pressed Vladimir Putin repeatedly. Putin denied Russian involvement. And it bears noting that Trump himself has cast doubt on the role that Russia played in the election in the past. But Tillerson said this is a real impediment to U.S.-Russia relations but that the leaders had agreed to look for a way around it.


REX TILLERSON: What the two presidents, I think, rightly, focused on is, how do we move forward? How do we move forward from here? Because it's just not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations. So the question is, what do we do now?

HORSLEY: Tillerson says they'll be looking for a way to ensure Russia doesn't meddle in an election again. And they also talked about other areas of cooperation, including Syria, where the two countries agreed with Syria's neighbor Jordan on a ceasefire in a southwestern section of that country.

SIMON: Of course, all of these meetings take place on the margins, if you please, of a big, international summit. What other conversations are going on?

HORSLEY: The broad themes of this G-20 summit have been climate and trade. And the U.S. is sort of on the outside looking in in both those areas. Most of the other countries are moving ahead to confront climate change, while, of course, Trump has drawn the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. And the Trump administration is considering new protectionist policies at a time when most of the other G-20 members are trying to encourage freer trade and when Japan just signed a new trade pact with the European Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not try to paper over these disputes. She acknowledged they've been tough talks. But Trump praised Merkel for her leadership of this summit. He also nodded to the protesters who have certainly rattled this port city, which is Merkel's home town, where the G-20 meeting is taking place.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They seem to follow your G-20s around. But you have been amazing. And you have done a fantastic job. And thank you very much, Chancellor. Incredible.


HORSLEY: Trump made those comments at a session this morning on empowering women entrepreneurs. That's an initiative that his daughter Ivanka is very involved in. And the president pledged that the U.S. will contribute $50 billion to a World Bank effort to empower women all around the globe.

SIMON: NPR's Scott Horsley, traveling with the president, thanks so much for being with us.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.