Washington | US President Donald Trump will hold a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe this week on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina, amidst China flexing its muscles in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
The trilateral, which would be an expansion of the bilateral meeting between Trump and Abe, is part of the series of meetings the US president would have on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1, the White House said. The annual meeting is being attended by leaders of the top 20 economies of the world.
However, all eyes are expected to be on two meetings that Trump would have with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Briefing reporters ahead of the G-20 Summit, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Tuesday that Trump will meet with Abe, and then the two leaders will meet jointly with Modi. China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the waterway, which includes vital sea lanes through which about USD 3 trillion in global trade passes each year.
The US has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
Prime Minister Modi, in his keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore in June expounded India’s stand on the strategic Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific is a natural region. It is also home to a vast array of global opportunities and challenges, he said.
“India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be,” the prime minister explained.
“India stands for open and stable international trade regime. We will also support rule-based, open, balanced and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific region, which lifts up all nations on the tide of trade and investment,” he said.
President Trump will also have meetings with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, President Moon Jae-In of South Korea and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. “The president will meet with President Putin and have a working dinner with President Xi,” National Security Advisor Bolton said.
Prime Minister Modi will also meet Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the summit. It would be their fourth meeting in last seven months. Modi will also meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Mauricio Macri, the President of Argentina; Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He will also meet the prime ministers of Spain, Jamaica, the Netherlands and the president of the European Union and European Council.
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