Trump invites Kim Jong Un to meet for a quickie shake, talks tariffs, skillfully dodges rude question at G20

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Screen capture … U.S. and Saudi breakfast meeting at the G20 in Japan … Credit: MSNBC

On Saturday during the G20, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a face-to-face meeting on trade relations that Trump reported “went better than expected.” He said the meeting was “excellent” and that the U.S. and China were “back on track,” adding that “negotiations are continuing.”

After a seven-week breakdown in negotiations, the two agreed to restart the talks, averting further escalation of the tariff war that has been roiling markets around the world.

The meeting between the two leaders was their first in seven months.

Trump promised to put on hold his threat to put new 25 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports, and he agreed to lift some restrictions on Huawei, the controversial Chinese technology giant.

In return, Trump reported that China agreed to buy a “tremendous amount” of American food and agricultural products. “We will give them a list of things we want them to buy,” he said.

“We’ve had an excellent relationship,” Trump said to Xi before the talks, “but we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade.”

“Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,” Xi said.

In another development, at a formal breakfast attended by the U.S. and Saudi delegations at the G-20 Summit in Japan, President Trump did not answer a reporter’s tasteless, shouted question about Mohammad bin Salman’s (MbS) alleged complicity in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. The media seized on that following the President’s comments in which he offered praise for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and called him a “friend of mine.”

Later in the day, at a more appropriate time, Trump did address the question.

Watch here as the President first diplomatically characterizes his relationship with MbS and the bond between the two countries at the breakfast meeting …

Video by MSNBC

Later at a news conference after the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, he did respond to a question about the Khashoggi assassination in the Saudi Embassy by saying, “They’ve (Saudi) been a terrific ally. They’re creating millions of jobs in this country. They’re ordering equipment, not only military equipment, $400 billion worth, actually more than that over a period of time. With that being said, I’m extremely angry and unhappy about a thing like that taking place. But as of this moment, more than 13 people are being prosecuted and I hear the number’s going to be going up.”

Video by Press TV

Afterwards, CNN’s Jim Acosta weighed in with a tweet in which he said that “a UN report said there was ‘credible evidence’ that MBS and others in the Kingdom were responsible.”

“The killing of Mr. Khashoggi constituted an extrajudicial execution for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” stated the UN report released three days ago, while a top Saudi diplomat responded, saying “it’s prejudiced and fabricated.” The report called for the investigation of MbS’s role in the killing.

The report’s executive summary included these statements:

Mr. Khashoggi’s killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible. His attempted kidnapping would also constitute a violation under international human rights law. From the perspective of international human rights law, State responsibility is not a question of, for example, which of the State officials ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s death; whether one or more ordered a kidnapping that was botched and then became an accidental killing; or whether the officers acted on their own initiative or ultra vires.

The Special Rapporteur has determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s.  She warns against a disproportionate emphasis on identifying who ordered the crime, pointing out that the search for justice and accountability is not singularly dependent on finding a smoking gun and the person holding it. The search is also, if not primarily, about identifying those who, in the context of the commission of a violation, have abused, or failed to fulfill, the responsibilities of their positions of authority.

Also at the conclusion of the G20, Trump tweeted an unexpected invitation as an olive branch, to North Korean dictator Kim Jong un, asking him to briefly meet him at the DMZ for a handshake during the President’s stopover in South Korea as he heads home to the U.S. Trump’s overture is said to be an attempt to lure North Korea back to the negotiating table.


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