Leaders of the 20 leading economic powers as well as other attendees of the Sept. 4-5 G-20 summit have begun to gather in Hangzhou, China, Reuters reported Sept. 3. U.S President Barack Obama has already arrived in the city. The most notable development so far has been the U.S. and Chinese ratification of the Paris climate change agreement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived early Sept. 3, as did U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived Sept. 3 as well after a stopover in Vietnam to sign numerous defense and cooperation deals. Others arrived Sept. 2: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo and South African President Jacob Zuma.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama met for four hours Sept. 3. During the meeting, Obama stressed China's obligations in the South China Sea under international maritime law. A lengthy U.S. statement after the meeting stressed commitment to treaty allies and to stability in the Pacific Rim. Xi also met with the Turkish president, and the two nations pledged to increase counterterrorism cooperation, setting aside disagreements over the status of Uighur minorities in western China. Turkey shares ethnic ties with the Uighurs and allows them to seek asylum, but Erdogan said he would not allow anyone to use Turkish soil for purposes that would erode Chinese security.
On the sidelines of the summit, numerous meetings will take place. Xi plans to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin, possibly to discuss Central Asian security following the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov and the privatization of Rosneft. The U.S. president will also meet with the Russian president. The Chinese leader may also meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun Hye, with whom relations have been strained since the decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The Indian prime minister will meet with the Chinese president to discuss sanctions on terrorist groups based in Pakistan and China's opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Modi will not meet with Obama but may hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and British Prime Minister Theresa May. The so-called BRICS nations will also hold a meeting early Sept. 3. China's hosting of this week's summit is another big opportunity for Beijing to sit at the center of global attention and showcase its growing influence.