G20 battle lines drawn over climate, trade

15:09 | 06/07/2017 Cooperation

Leaders of the world's top economies will gather Friday in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade.

Here are some of the most volatile issues and disputes, and the key personalities involved, in the July 7-8 meeting in the northern port city of Hamburg.

North Korea

North Korea's first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday is likely to overshadow all other trade and diplomatic rows. The reclusive state's relentless pursuit of its nuclear ambitions comes as a slap in the face for U.S. President Donald Trump, who vowed Pyongyang's goal of possessing an ICBM "won't happen".

The tough-talking property tycoon has so far failed to persuade China to bring its rogue neighbor to heel.

Storm clouds

Germany has made climate protection a priority of its G20 presidency.

It had hoped to get the world's biggest industrialized and emerging economies to commit to taking the lead in implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate deal on keeping the global rise in temperatures "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times.

But Trump dashed those hopes after vowing in early June that he would pull the world's second biggest carbon emitter out of the Paris accord.

Host Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that after Trump's announcement, she "knew that we could not expect discussions to be easy".

But she and European allies have vowed to defend the climate pact at the summit, setting them on a collision course with Trump.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump at a meeting in Washington in March 2017 - Photo: Reuters

Looming trade war

Signing up to an anti-protectionist pledge used to be routine at G20 meetings, but not this time.

Trump, swept to power by popular anger over deindustrialization in vast parts of the United States, has pledged to "follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American."

That has put him at odds with many U.S. trading partners, including export giants Germany and China, whom he has criticized over their massive trade surpluses.

Trump's threats may soon materialize, as Washington is reportedly preparing to impose punitive tariffs on steel imports -- something that G20 exporters would be keen to ward off.

The United States in April launched a probe into whether steel imports posed a danger to national security, with the result due within days.

Trump is reportedly waiting to hear from trading partners before announcing his decision on whether to limit imports of the metal.

According to news website Axios, the U.S. leader is leaning towards imposing tariffs as high as 20 percent on the metal -- a move that would likely unleash retaliatory measures...

Theo Vnexpress