- Associated Press - Thursday, June 27, 2019

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

9 p.m.

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited U.S. President Donald Trump to visit next year and he responded “positively.”

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Putin invited Trump to attend festivities marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II victory.

Peskov said Trump reacted positively to the invitation at their meeting Friday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, noting that he will wait for an official invitation. Peskov added that it will be sent shortly.



He said the presidents also talked about ways to improve economic ties and had a detailed discussion about arms control issues.

He said they also talked about Syria and mentioned Turkey in that context. Peskov said China also figured in the discussion, but didn’t provide further details.

Leaders of the G-20 nations are gathered in Osaka, Japan, for a two-day summit beginning Friday.

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7:05 p.m.

China’s foreign ministry has expressed hope Washington can “meet China halfway” as President Xi Jinping prepares to meet President Donald Trump amid a costly tariff fight over trade and technology.

Investors are hoping for a repeat of Trump and Xi’s December agreement to postpone new tariff hikes and other action while they tried to negotiate a settlement. But analysts caution any truce at this Group of 20 meeting of major economies is likely to be temporary because of the array of disputes that separate the two sides.

The two sides are in a stalemate after 11 rounds of talks. Beijing has said any agreement must be balanced and rejects U.S. complaints it steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says: “We hope that the U.S. can meet China halfway and work together with us to promote a positive result from the meeting. This is in the interest of both countries and also meets the common expectation of the international community.”

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5:35 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, the first such top-level encounter in years.

Relations between Russia and Britain have been in tatters over the March 4, 2018, nerve agent attack on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury. They spent weeks in critical condition, but recovered.

Britain has accused Russia of poisoning them with the nerve agent Novichok, accusations Moscow has denied. The poisoning has triggered a major diplomatic crisis, with Russia and the West expelling hundreds of envoys.

May said before the summit that Britain will push for the two Russian military intelligence officers accused of involvement in the attack to be brought to justice.

In an interview with the Financial Times before the G-20 summit, Putin insisted that Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning. He argued that bilateral ties are far more important than “the fuss about spies not worth five copecks.”

Putin and May last met in 2016.

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5:10 p.m.

Leaders of Russia, India and China have urged joint action against unilateralism.

Meeting Friday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about ways to bolster ties between their nations.

Putin emphasized that the three countries agree on the need to rely on international law, respect national sovereignty and refrain from interference in internal affairs of other nations.

He added that they have held meetings of foreign ministers and top security officials to coordinate action against terrorism, drug trafficking and other challenges.

Putin noted that Russia, China and India firmly oppose protectionism, unilateral actions and unlawful sanctions.

The encounter follows a meeting of the BRICS grouping that also includes Brazil and South Africa.

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4:20 p.m.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cautioned Chinese President Xi Jinping over Beijing’s human rights records, raising concerns about recent turmoil in Hong Kong.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that Abe told Xi it is important for “a free and open Hong Kong to prosper under ‘one country, two systems’ policy.”

The two leaders met Thursday in Osaka ahead of the two-day Group of 20 Summit.

Officials said Abe raised concern about Hong Kong, where hundreds of thousands protested proposed legislation that would allow some criminal suspects to be extradited for trial in mainland China.

Abe also reminded Xi of the importance of guaranteeing freedom, human rights, rule of law and other universal values.

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3:25 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing for a de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf and the preservation of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

He told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on Friday that the deal was a factor of stability and that “it will be very important to preserve it.”

He says avoiding a confrontation in the Gulf was a major concern for key players attending the G-20.

U.S. President Donald Trump is to discuss Iran with other world leaders. He pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Iran is now poised to surpass a key uranium stockpile threshold, threatening the accord it reached in 2015 with world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear activity.

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1:50 p.m.

Pro-democracy activists are urging Group of 20 leaders at the summit in Osaka to pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping to improve the human rights of his people, including minorities and those in Hong Kong.

Three activists from China, Hong Kong and southern Mongolia are urging the leaders to use trade and the economy as leverage to pressure China to address human rights problems. They also plan to stage rallies in Osaka, where Xi will be attending the June 28-29 summit.

Xi will hold talks Saturday with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Andy Chan Ho-tin from Hong Kong called for sanctions on both pro-Beijing leaders in his region and China to protect freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. Thousands protested in Hong Kong recently to oppose a bill that would allow extradition of criminal suspects to mainland.

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1:15 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged fellow world leaders to cooperate in responding to intensifying trade and political tensions to help fend off threats to world economic growth and stability.

Abe made the comments at the outset of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, where the leaders planned to first focus their discussions Friday on the world economy and trade.

He says a “free and open” economy is crucial for peace and prosperity and retaliatory moves in trade conflicts would not benefit any country.

The two-day summit began with an extra meeting devoted to endorsing Abe’s “Osaka Track” effort to promote rules for e-commerce to help control cybersecurity risks and promote growth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump joined Abe in outlining the concerns posed by the so-called “digital economy.”

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11:20 a.m.

The U.N. chief says the world can’t afford the conflict as tensions rise between Iran and the United States.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on the sidelines of the two-day G-20 leaders’ summit Friday that it is “essential to deescalate the situation” and avoid confrontation.

His comments come as Iran is poised to surpass a key uranium stockpile threshold, threatening an accord it reached in 2015 with world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear activity.

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Iran to cripple its economy, sent an aircraft carrier to the region and deployed more troops alongside the tens of thousands already there.

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11 a.m.

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have called for joint efforts to stabilize international trade and oppose protectionism.

The leaders of BRICS grouping, who met Friday in Osaka on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, also called for strengthening the role of the World Trade Organization.

In an apparent reference to trade wars with the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping criticized “unilateral and protectionist measures that ruin the global order” and urged the BRICS countries to strengthen their joint efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has been hurt by an array of the U.S. and the EU sanctions, said at the meeting that “the international trade has suffered from protectionism, politically motivated restrictions and barriers.”

Putin also emphasized the need for BRICS nations to take coordinated action to help block sources of funding for terrorist groups.

He pointed at Russia’s campaign in Syria, emphasizing the need to rebuild the country and encourage the refugees to return.

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10:50 a.m.

European Union President Donald Tusk has blasted a reported comment by Russian President Vladimir Putin suggesting that liberalism is obsolete.

Tusk said Friday that such comments suggest a belief that “freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete.”

Putin said in an interview published by the newspaper Financial Times that “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”

Both leaders are in Osaka for a G-20 summit.

Tusk’s statement to reporters said, “We are here as Europeans also to firmly and unequivocally defend and promote liberal democracy.”

He said, “What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs. Even if sometimes they may seem effective.”

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8 a.m.

The U.N. chief is urging G-20 leaders to take action on equitable and stable reforms to strengthen the global financial safety net and increase the global economy’s resilience.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a letter to leaders gathered in Osaka, Japan, for the two-day summit beginning Friday that while the world has made progress fixing some big problems it’s not happening fast enough or shared by all countries.

Guterres said that while there are good plans and vision, what’s needed are “accelerated actions, not more deliberations.”

He says that fast and equal economic growth should be constructed so that people who live in “the ‘rust belts’ of the world are not left behind.”

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