President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Japan later this month, meetings that neither Moscow nor Beijing have confirmed.
Trump relayed his plans to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
“I’ll be meeting with Putin at the G-20. I’ll be meeting with President Xi at the G-20,” Trump said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after Trump’s comments Wednesday that there had been no confirmation of a meeting between the two presidents.
“At this point, we have not received any official signals from Washington, and the Americans have not initiated the meeting in any way through official channels,” Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. “Nothing has changed.”
U.S. relationships with Russia and China have been strained of late.
The United States and Russia remain at odds on several fronts, including the future of Syria and Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The United States and China, meanwhile, are in the midst of a trade war.
Trump on Monday threatened to impose large tariffs on $300 billion in imports if Xi did not meet with him in Japan later this month, showing how he plans to immediately pivot from his trade war with Mexico back to Beijing.
Trump, in a wide-ranging and apparently impromptu interview with CNBC, said he was “scheduled to have a meeting” with Xi during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, but Chinese officials have refused to publicly confirm the gathering.
“We do not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one,” said Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “If the U.S. is ready to have equal consultations, our door is wide open. But if it insists on escalating trade frictions, we will respond to it with resolution and perseverance.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · John Wagner