A very bilateral kind of multilateralism . . .
The G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan started with high expectations. All members arrived focused on the possibility that the bilateral meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could bring a final end to the U.S.-China trade war. The increasingly protectionist measures taken by the two major powers is producing deeper cracks in the global economy, and the ripple effects are being felt by everyone else.
Asia minding its own business . . .
The multilateral summit kicked off on Thursday with a bilateral meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi. Their main resolution was to move forward on building a strong and open market in Asia for their sophisticated value chains. Abe is increasingly playing the role of broker of peace and understanding between the East and the West. Xi appears to be welcoming Abe’s openness and respect for China’s ascendance.
Canada hoping for the best . . .
Canada went into the G20 with a strategy based on trusting the U.S. to convince China to back down from the measures it has taken in retaliation for the arrest in Vancouver and possible deportation of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen having lunch next to President Xi, though the two appeared not to be talking to each other. Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, meanwhile, has said that Canada is trying to build a coalition inside the G20 to defend liberal values.