Trump moves to ease tensions over China and Iran at the end of the G7 summit

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — US President Donald Trump offered China an olive branch on Monday after days of bitter trade disputes and opened the door to diplomacy over Iran, easing tensions on the last day of the Group of Seven summit.

The leaders of the group, meeting in the coastal resort of Biarritz in France, appear to be reaching an agreement on how to help fight the Amazon fires and try to repair the damage caused.

Although leaders are not expected to leave the summit with a broader package of agreements or even a joint final communique, Trump and his Western allies apparently agreed not to agree on divisive issues.

These include Washington’s escalating trade war with China, which many fear will push the sluggish world economy into recession, how to deal with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be returned to the group.

At meetings this year, Trump, who confused at last year’s G8 summit, insisted relations were good with other leaders in the group, which also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, escalated on Friday after each country imposed more tariffs on each other’s exports, further shocking financial markets.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit on Monday, Trump believed China wanted a trade deal after communicating with US trade officials overnight to say it wanted to return to the negotiating table.

China’s chief negotiator in trade talks with Washington said earlier on Monday that Beijing was ready to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through “quiet negotiations” and firmly opposed to escalating the conflict.

Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping as a great leader and said the prospect of talks was a very positive development.

“He understands (the situation), and that would be great for China and the United States. That would be great for the world.”

– Let them get rich –

Trump also softened his stance on the standoff with Iran on Monday, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron surprised the group’s leaders by inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Biarritz for talks on the crisis between Washington and Tehran.

Trump told reporters that they had erred in saying he was surprised by Zarif’s five-hour visit on the sidelines of the summit, and said that although he thought a meeting was premature, he had not objected.

European leaders have been struggling to calm a standoff between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled out last year of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s economy.

Macron led efforts to defuse the crisis, fearing that the collapse of the deal could ignite the situation in the Middle East.

Trump has expressed willingness to open discussions with Iran on a nuclear deal and said he was not seeking regime change.

“We are not seeking regime change … We are looking to make Iran rich again. Let them get rich.”


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