- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2019

President Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday to see where the Asian superpower stands after American-Chinese trade since talks abruptly broke off in May, resulting in an escalating trade war and tit-for-tat tariffs.

Senior administration officials said Mr. Trump remains confident in the U.S. position, no matter the result of talks at the G20 summit in Osaka, as the president insists his levies are inflicting China more pain than on U.S. consumers.

Mr. Trump will insist on “structural” changes to level the playing field in U.S.-China trade, such as resolving intellectual property disputes and the forced transfer of technology to China, before making a deal, officials said.

The Xi meeting is the headliner of the two-day summit on Friday and Saturday, though Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet with a star-studded list of other leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Officials said Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin will discuss security matters regarding Iran, Ukraine and Syria and — pressed on whether election meddling with come up — suggested the president’s position on meddling is “well known” and he will repeat it.

Mr. Trump insists he’s been hard on Russia, though he’s been reluctant to talk about Russia’s influence in his 2016 victory.

Mr. Trump has no plans to make a surprise visit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un when he departs Osaka on Saturday for Seoul, South Korea, to meet with President Moon Jae-in and brainstorm ways to rekindle stalled nuclear talks on the Korean peninsula.

Yet officials declined to confirm — one way or the other — whether he plans to visit the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, between North Korea and South Korea after a 2017 trip was scrapped due to heavy fog.

There’s been speculation in Korean and U.S. media that he would make the attempt this time, in between bilateral meetings with Mr. Moon and his departure for D.C. late Sunday.

Mr. Trump will kick off his Asia swing late Thursday, when he lands in Japan for the second time in as many months. The trip comes as a tumultuous time for Mr. Trump, who faces escalating tensions with Iran after Tehran downed a U.S. drone, an ongoing trade dispute with China and a conundrum over how to restart nuclear talks with Mr. Kim — all as he begins his reelection campaign.

Officials said he will tout his pro-growth agenda among world leaders at the G20. He will also discuss the digital economy, infrastructure and women’s empowerment in the workforce.

Officials did not say when the Putin meeting will occur, exactly, though the president has a full slate of bilateral meetings scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

They include a sit-down with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is under pressure to explain what role he might have played in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Mr. Trump has suggested the matter has been probed and settled. Administration officials said the meeting in Japan will focus on Iran’s provocations in the Middle East region.

The president will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Australian Prime Minister Scott John Morrison.

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