White House reverses course, clarifies Trump’s ‘second thoughts’ on China trade war

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in Biarritz France

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in Biarritz France

Justin Trudeau met face-to-face with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France on Sunday for a discussion that covered trade, diplomacy and a bit of a lighter topic - basketball.

But there is evidence of rancor behind the scenes, with American officials griping the yearly gathering is being orchestrated to isolate Trump and trade disputes spilling into the open- even with a new friend - as leaders huddle to discuss a flagging global economy.

French riot police used water cannons and tear gas on Saturday to disperse anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, near the resort of Biarritz where President Emmanuel Macron and G7 nation allies were meeting for a three-day summit.

Trump then entered the first official summit meeting, initially set to be a discussion of foreign policy and security issues.

The annual G-7 summit has historically been used to highlight common ground among the world's leading democracies.

During a working breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump was asked if he had any regrets about recent developments.

Despite Trump's insistence that reports of USA tensions with allies are overblown, fissures between the US and six of the world's other advanced economies were apparent on trade policy, Russian Federation and Iran as the leaders gathered at a picturesque French beach resort.

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-China trade war as leaders at a global summit pushed the unpredictable American president to ease frictions over tariffs and co-operate on other geopolitical challenges.

"Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great - the talk of the world!" he further tweeted.

"President Trump responded in the affirmative because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher", White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Trump shared a harsh assessment of the WTO, saying he believes it is even worse than NAFTA, which he again said was the "worst trade agreement ever done".

Asked if the other leaders had criticised the massive trade struggle, he said: "No, not at all".

Mr Trump said Japan had agreed to buy corn that U.S. farmers had been left with due to the tariffs imposed by China.

"I mean, you people want a recession because you think maybe that's the way to get Trump out", he said.

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Thousands of anti-globalization activists, Basque separatists and "yellow vest" protesters walked from the French town of Hendaye to Irun in Spain, waving banners calling for climate action, gay rights and a fairer economic model.

Sunday's meeting was their first since Johnson succeeded May as prime minister in July.

"No, I haven't discussed that", he told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Beijing's move takes aim at the heart of Trump's political support - factories and farms across the Midwest and South.

Germany and Britain both voiced deep concern about the fires, but said shooting down the ambitious Mercosur trade accord would not help save the Amazon. "It involves agriculture and it involves e-commerce and many other things".

And even Abe faced his own diplomatic tangle, as South Korea backed out of an intelligence sharing deal with Japan over a trade dispute - and over USA objections. "We're talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do". Abe, standing beside him, said they breached United Nations resolutions.

Indeed, Johnson said he would tell Trump to pull back from a trade war that is already destabilising economic growth around the world.

To that end, Trump announced Sunday that the USA and Britain will work out a "very big trade deal" once the United Kingdom has left the European Union.

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