The Latest: Abe, Putin announce initiatives to expand ties

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Donald Trump, Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump, left, poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

OSAKA, Japan (AP) — The Latest on the Group of 20 summit meetings in Osaka, Japan (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin have announced new initiatives to further expand economic ties and tourist exchanges between the two nations, but have made no visible progress on a decades-long territorial dispute.

The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands in the closing days of World War II. Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, and the dispute has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty.

Abe said Saturday’s talks confirmed a shared intention to solve the problem. He said the parties moved closer to reaching agreement on joint economic projects on the disputed islands.

He also announced that Japan will offer simpler visa procedures for Russian businessmen and tourists.

Putin voiced hope that joint projects will “help create conditions for finding mutually acceptable solutions of the most difficult problems.”

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7:10 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has discussed the arrest of two Canadians in China with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trudeau refused to give details of his exchanges with Xi. He told reporters Saturday following the summit of the Group of 20 that he believed the face-to-face discussions were important in helping to resolve tensions between the two countries.

The strains arose after Canada, at the U.S.’s request, arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, Meng Wanzhou. China responded by detaining two Canadians and sentenced another to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release.

The two detained men have been accused of conspiring together to steal state secrets. No evidence has been provided and they have not been allowed access to family members or lawyers while remaining in custody.

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5:35 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says claims of Russian meddling in the U.S. election have been on the agenda of his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Asked Saturday whether the issue was discussed during the meeting, Putin said that “we talked about it,” but didn’t elaborate.

He said he believes it’s necessary to “turn the page” in relations with the U.S., which have plunged to the lowest level since the Cold War times.

He said he and Trump agreed that the nations’ top diplomats should continue discussions on a possible extension of the New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty that expires in 2021.

They also talked about the need to encourage the development of bilateral economic ties.

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5:05 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement on the need for OPEC to continue production cuts.

Speaking Saturday after the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Putin said that he and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the issue during their bilateral meeting and agreed on the need to continue curbing the oil output.

He added that it’s yet to be decided whether the cuts will be extended for half a year or, possibly nine months.

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5 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed the fact that G-20 leaders managed to hold the line on the issue of climate change since the last summit in Argentina, with 19 countries committing themselves to the Paris accord and only the United States dissenting.

Merkel told reporters in Japan on Saturday that “this process cannot be turned around,” adding that some leaders present in Osaka have already indicated they are willing to increase their commitments to curb greenhouse gases by aiming for “net zero” emissions by 2050.

Merkel also lauded the deal between the EU and the Latin American bloc MERCOSUR to create the world’s largest free trade zone after 20 years of negotiations, noting that the agreement includes a reference to the goals of the Paris accord and that this was accepted by Brazil.

Some fear Brazil’s right-wing government could allow large-scale destruction of the Amazon, a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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4:10 p.m.

In the final G-20 communique world leaders are vowing to tackle climate change.

They said in the document released at the end of the two-day summit Saturday that they’d try to get lower emissions by working for financing for sustainable development and for better innovation.

Japan has pushed for the Osaka summit to become a landmark for progress on environmental issues, including tackling the global problem of plastic waste and recommitting to efforts to counter climate change.

Leaders said they’d “look into a wide range of clean technologies and approaches, including smart cities, ecosystem and community based approaches.”

The United States in the communique reiterated its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change “because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers.”

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2 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump says his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping was “very good.”

Trump told reporters during a meeting Saturday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that trade talks with China were “back on track.”

The meeting raised hopes for reviving negotiations that stalled in May as both sides raised tariffs in their dispute over trade and technology.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that Xi and Trump had agreed to restart trade talks “on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

It said the U.S. side agreed not to add new tariffs on Chinese exports. It said the two sides’ trade negotiating teams were to discuss specific issues.

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12:30 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he expects the scheduled delivery of Russian air defense missiles under a contract that has vexed the United States.

Erdogan said Saturday at the start of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, that the deal is a priority and the delivery of the S-400 air defense systems should start without delay.

The U.S. has strongly urged NATO member Turkey to pull back from the deal, but Ankara has refused to budge and the first shipments are expected next month. It would mark the first such deal between Russia and a NATO member.

Putin hailed growing bilateral trade and a rising flow of Russian tourists to Turkey.

Russia and Turkey have closely coordinated their actions in Syria, signing a de-escalation deal for the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold.

That deal has recently been tested by increased fighting, raising the prospect of a government offensive and a major humanitarian crisis.

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12:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has sat down for talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Osaka.

The two leaders spoke of good intentions as the meeting began Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

Their discussions are expected to focus at least in part on the bitter dispute over technology and trade that has triggered a tariffs war between the two largest economies.

Xi started his comments with a reference to “ping-pong diplomacy” that launched the U.S. normalization of relations with Beijing nearly 50 years ago.

He noted that “cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.” He added that, “Today I’m prepared to exchange views with you concerning the growth of U.S.-China relations so as to set the direction for our relationship.”

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11:10 a.m.

Group of 20 leaders have joined their host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in showcasing support for helping women close the gap with men in finance and other forms of economic empowerment.

Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Donald Trump, said Saturday that the world economy would get a boost of up to $28 trillion by 2025 if women were on an equal economic footing. She was speaking at a special session on the issue at the G-20 summit in Osaka that included her father. She described improving the status of women as “smart economic and defense policy.”

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the U.N. secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, says “it is really necessary to close this gap for women to be economically empowered.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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