Disputes and discussions abound at G20

The G20 summit in Hangzhou China has so far seen some fierce wrangling in and outside the conference hall.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping, front right, speaks during the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

The 11th summit of the world's 20 most important industrialised economies in Hangzhou China got off to a bad start on Saturday, when it emerged that a scuffle broke out between Chinese security personnel and US officials at Hangzhou airport.

The argument appears to have been over press access and who would be allowed to accompany US President Barack Obama.

US President Barack Obama arrives at Hangzhou Xiaoshan international airport before the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 3, 2016.

It came after Chinese authorities apparently “forgot” to provide a staircase for the president to disembark, in a move widely interpreted as a snub to the leader of the world’s largest economy. 

But on Sunday, the first day of the summit-proper, the disagreements weren’t confined to the tarmac.

Russia and the US failed to reach a much hoped-for deal for a ceasefire in Syria, with Obama saying “grave differences” remained between the countries over their approach to the conflict.

The fallout over Britain’s decision to leave the EU also attracted a lot of attention, with Japan seeking assurances that its companies would retain access to the European single market.

Obama also indicated that drawing up a trade agreement with a post Brexit-UK was not a top priority, although he said that the US and UK retain a "very special relationship."

The discussion over Brexit came as part of the wider focus on trade, with China’s Xi Jinping issuing a warning over the dangers of protectionism and stating his desire to “turn the G20 group into an action team, instead of a talk shop."

But China’s steel industry – which itself has been accused of benefitting from protectionism and flooding the global market – also came under the spotlight, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying "Overcapacity is a global problem but there is a particular Chinese element." 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan pose for a group picture during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 4, 2016.

On the sidelines of the summit Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with both US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the conflict in Syria, cooperation on the refugee crisis and July’s failed coup attempt, with Erdogan telling Obama that Turkey and the US “should adopt a shared attitude against all terrorist organisations as NATO member countries."

The final day of this year's G20 summit will take place on September 5.

TRTWorld and agencies