Global big-hitters arrive in Argentina for G20 summit

Tourists pose for pictures at the Obelisk along 9 de julio Avenue the in downtown Buenos ahead of the G20 Summit. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018

Global big-hitters arrive in Argentina for G20 summit


BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine capital began to go into security lockdown on Wednesday as leaders of the world’s biggest economies started to arrive for the G20 summit starting on Friday.

The two-day summit brings together the most important statesmen in the world, including US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for top-level policy meetings and negotiations.

Finance ministers and “sherpas,” the government officials whose job it is to steer negotiations toward some kind of agreement, have been in Buenos Aires since the start of the week. 

Certain to be on their minds — although it is not mentioned formally on the summit agenda — is the looming prospect of a global trade war between the US and China. This is expected be discussed at a dinner on Friday evening between Trump and Xi.

The official mission statement is “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development” in areas such as the future of work, infrastructure, food and gender. If all goes to plan, there will be a joint communiqué of agreement announced on Saturday.

It is the first time a G20 meeting has been held in Latin America (Saudi Arabia is set to host it in 2020), and Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri is taking the opportunity to showcase the reforms that he has introduced in the past two years but which have run into economic problems recently.

The summit has regularly been the focus of organized protests, which have sometimes tuned violent, and Argentina is taking special measures to ensure a peaceful meeting.

Traffic was already being restricted in large areas of Buenos Aires Wednesday, with access limited to the Costa Salguero Center, the business and leisure area where the main summit meetings will be held.

There is also an extensive program of cultural and artistic activities planned to coincide with the event, with wives and partners of many of the leaders hosting events throughout the city.

By Friday, large parts of Buenos Aires will be closed to normal traffic. Much of the public transport network will be closed temporarily, and citizens have been given an extra public holiday on the opening day. They have been advised by the authorities to take a long weekend outside the city for the duration of the event.

US warship sails in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions

Updated 20 May 2019

US warship sails in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions

  • The busy waterway is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship
  • The US destroyer Preble carried out the operation, a military spokesman said

WASHINGTON: The US military said one of its warships sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, a move likely to anger Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
The busy waterway is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which also include a trade war, US sanctions and Taiwan.
China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday. The tough talk capped a week that saw Beijing unveil fresh retaliatory tariffs.
The US destroyer Preble carried out the operation, a US military spokesman told Reuters.
“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.
It was the second such US military operation in the South China Sea in the last month. On Wednesday, the chief of the US Navy said its freedom of navigation movements in the disputed South China Sea drew more attention than they deserved.
The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.
The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.
China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambasts the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims in the region.
China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.
China defends its construction as necessary for self-defense and says the United States is responsible for ratcheting up tension in the region by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.
Last month, China’s navy chief said freedom of navigation should not be used to infringe upon the rights of other nations.