G7 summit: War of words erupts between US and key allies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

G7 summit: War of words erupts between US and key allies

Photo from the G7 summit of the leaders, tweeted by the German government on 9 June 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe final communique had been intended as a face-saving agreement after a bad-tempered summit

A war of words has erupted between the US and its G7 allies, hours after the group had put on an apparent show of unity at the end of a tense summit.

US President Donald Trump and two of his advisers lashed out at Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, accusing him of engaging in “bad faith diplomacy”.

Germany’s Angela Merkel said Mr Trump’s decision to reject a joint communique was “sobering” and “depressing”.

That statement had sought to overcome deep disagreements, notably over trade.

In recent weeks, trading partners of the US have criticised new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed by the Trump administration.

So how did the latest spat unfold?

In a news conference after the summit, the Canadian leader reasserted his opposition to the US tariffs, and vowed to press ahead with retaliatory moves on 1 July.

“Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around,” he said.

Media captionTrudeau: “I don’t want to hurt American workers”

Mr Trump responded by tweeting en route to his next summit, in Singapore, that he had instructed US officials “not to endorse the communique as we look at tariffs on automobiles”.

He said the move was based on Mr Trudeau’s “false statements… and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies”.

His top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, and trade adviser, Peter Navarro, then took to the Sunday morning news shows to further attack Mr Trudeau.

“He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Mr Kudlow said, while Mr Navarro said: “There is a special place in Hell for any leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland responded by saying Mr Trump’s argument for imposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium was “absurd and frankly insulting to Canadians”.

Mr Trump has cited national security as his reason, telling a news conference on Saturday that “to have a great military you need a great balance sheet”.

Canada, she said, is “the closest and strongest ally the United States has had. We can’t pose a security threat to the United States and I know that Americans understand that”.

Other G7 partners also seemed stunned by Mr Trump’s reaction, and pledged to support the communique.

Media captionWho left their mark on President Trump at the G7 summit?

French President Emmanuel Macron said international co-operation could not be “dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks”.

“Let’s be serious and worthy of our people,” a statement from the French presidency said. “We make commitments and keep to them.”

What is in the joint communique?

In the communique after the summit in La Malbaie, Quebec province, the group of major industrial nations – Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany – had agreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism.

Other agreements reached include:

Mr Trump’s twitter attack on Mr Trudeau came minutes after the communique had been published.

What are the tariffs?

On 1 June, the US imposed a 25% tariff for steel and 10% for aluminium on imports from the European Union (EU), Canada, and Mexico. Mr Trump said the move would protect domestic producers that were vital to US security.

The EU then announced retaliatory tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon. Canada and Mexico are also taking action.

Media captionDairy wars: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk?

What is the G7?

It is an annual summit bringing together seven major industrialised nations which represent more than 60% of global net worth between them.

Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.

Russia was suspended from the group – then called the G8 – in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

On Friday, Mr Trump made a surprise call for Moscow to be readmitted but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said other members were against the idea.

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US & Canada

King Obama’s Aloofness Drives Philippines President Duterte Into China’s Open Arms

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Duterte’s visit to China lauded as win-win, conducive to regional peace

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China shows the two countries have resumed friendly relations for win-win, which are also conducive to regional peace and stability, global observers and analysts told Xinhua.

The visit is significant in that it is not only Duterte’s first visit outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but also came ahead of his visit to the Philippines’ traditional allies, the United States and Japan, said Earl Parreno, a political analyst at the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms in the Philippines.

“This visit could mean more investments coming into the country, more opportunities for businessmen and more employment for Filipinos. It could also mean markets for Philippine products like bananas and pineapples,” said Parreno.

Ngeow Chow Bing, deputy director of the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, also spoke highly of Duterte’s visit to China, saying that the China-Philippine relationship going back on track is conducive to regional peace and stability.

The relationship between China and the Southeast Asian countries is comprehensive and complex, which involves not just military or security issues, but also trade, cultural and tourism opportunities, the Malaysian expert said.

Soukthavy Keola, a former counselor at the Lao Embassy in China, said the result of Duterte’s visit is of strategic importance to the region.

The development of cooperation between the two countries will have a positive influence on cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, said Keola.

Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said Duterte’s visit is an obvious adjustment of Philippine foreign policy, especially about its relations with major world countries.

Different from his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, who largely depended on the United States in his foreign policy, Duterte has adopted a policy of diversifying friendly relations with major world countries and his visit to China reflects this policy, said Li.

“It is expected that in the next few years, China-Philippine relations will return to the normal track, and cooperation in many areas will be strengthened,” he said.

Pierre Picquart, an expert in Geopolitics and China at the University of Paris VIII, told Xinhua that Duterte has chosen the path of reason “rather than promoting geopolitical, economic and territorial tensions about the South China Sea, and unlike his predecessor Benigno Aquino.”

“This is a peaceful way, with bilateral negotiations and path of economic growth in partnership with Beijing for win-win partnerships in the region,” Picquart said, hailing that the “former American colony now seems to break his ancestral chains.”

Bambang Purwanto, director of international department at Indonesia’s Antara News Agency, said Duterte has made a good start on relations with China and the two countries should strike for positive results from the current visit to create a good atmosphere.

“I am sure that the visit will ease the tension in the South China Sea, and start the process to make the two people’s know each other, to know that cooperation is the right way to develop bilateral ties,” said Purwanto.

Duterte arrived in Beijing Tuesday night for a four-day state visit to China, the first country he has visited outside ASEAN since taking office in June.

The visit came against a backdrop of deteriorating China-Philippines ties due to the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated against China by his predecessor Benigno Aquino III.