President Donald Trump arrived in Japan’s Osaka on Thursday on the eve of a high-stakes G20 summit likely to be dominated by trade tensions between the United States and China.
Before leaving, Trump had lashed out at China as well as at allies India, Japan and Germany, setting the tone for what could be a fractious meeting of world leaders.
Donald Trump set the tone for what promises to be a stormy G20 summit by lashing out at friends and foes alike over trade tariffs and foreign policy.
The long-running US-China trade war looked set to dominate the two-day meeting of world leaders in Osaka from Friday but clashes also loomed over climate and hotspots including North Korea and Iran.
On board Air Force One en route to Japan, Trump fired off a tweet, stating long-standing ally India for “unacceptable” tariffs on American goods.
“India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn,” tweeted Trump.
The US president had earlier taken aim at China, saying Beijing wanted to do a deal because the world’s number-two economy was “going down the tubes”.
Furious at what he sees as an unfair advantage in the trading system, Trump has already hit Beijing with $200 billion in levies on Chinese imports and appeared to threaten more.
While US-China trade is likely to dominate the meeting, world leaders are also facing a perfect storm of geopolitical hotspots from Iran to North Korea and Venezuela.
Tensions with Tehran are at fever pitch after Trump pulled back from military action at the last minute in response to the downing of an unmanned US drone.
Before leaving for the G20, Trump said he did not seek conflict with the long-time US foe but warned it “wouldn’t last very long” if war did break out.
Iran will be one of several topics when Trump meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the meeting, along with arms control, the crisis in Venezuela, and Ukraine.
Hosts Japan have desperately tried to steer attention away from the Trump show and on to the formal aspects of their G20 agenda, including the challenges posed by ageing populations and climate change.