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G20: Hamburg

Beijing to press Trump over withdrawal from Paris climate accord

China and other BRIC countries at G20 meeting use communique to urge group to push for implemention of deal despite US pull-out

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 July, 2017, 12:08am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 July, 2017, 12:25am

China and other emerging economies put pressure on US President Donald Trump to compromise on climate and trade as a Group of 20 summit got under way in Germany on Friday amid clashes between police and protestors.

In a joint communique issued as the leaders gathered in a convention centre in Hamburg, Brazil, Russia, India and China – the so-called BRIC countries – called on the G20 to push for implementation of the Paris climate deal despite Trump’s decision last month to pull the United States out of it.

“The Paris agreement on climate change is an important consensus that doesn’t come easily and must not be given up easily,” President Xi Jinping said.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May said G20 leaders would urge Trump to reconsider his decision on Paris.

“We are not renegotiating the Paris agreement, that stays, but I want to see the US looking for ways to rejoin it,” she told the BBC.

Xi also criticised unnamed “major” developed nations for stoking geopolitical risks through calls to return to protectionism. China and others must step into the leadership vacuum and press for their interests, he said.

“Major developed countries have significantly backtracked positions on trade, climate change and other issues,” Xi said before a meeting with fellow BRIC leaders.

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The summit also brings together Trump and Xi as Washington raises pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea and threatens China with punitive trade measures.

Amid the big egos and seemingly intractable conflicts, the host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faces the daunting task of steering leaders towards a consensus on trade, climate and migration – all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago.

Merkel faces an election in a few months and cannot appear to cave in to Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Germany. Nor will she be keen for an open confrontation that could deepen tensions with Washington.

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After a night of clashes with police, groups of anti-capitalist protesters sat on the main intersections in Hamburg, blocking streets and bridges leading to the summit venue in the city centre as well as a road used by container trucks at Hamburg Port.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg