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Scott Morrison to meet with Donald Trump on G20 sidelines


US President Donald Trump will meet PM Scott Morrison as well as a small group of leaders, including Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping, at the G20.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made US President Donald Trump's short and exclusive list of scheduled meetings on the sidelines of this week's G20 in Japan.

The White House announced Mr Trump's schedule in Osaka, with Mr Morrison slated for a meeting.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Erdogan also made Mr Trump's schedule.

Anti-coal activists carry a banner with images of world leaders in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila, Philippines.
Anti-coal activists carry a banner with images of world leaders in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila, Philippines.

Mr Trump is expected to land in Osaka on Thursday for the two-day Group of Twenty meeting.

Mr Morrison's meeting comes as the prime minister becomes more critical of the growing US-China trade war.

"Working together with [Japan's] Prime Minister [Shizo] Abe at this year’s G20 host, the President and I will be working to make progress on the key issues facing the international community," he said.

"From efforts to relieve the strains on our global trading system to greater digitalisation and the need for social media companies to step up to better protect our citizens, the US and Australia have significant roles to play."

He said it would be an opportunity for Australia to urge the President to keep engaged with his Chinese counterpart to resolve their trade tensions.

The leaders are also set to discuss North Korea, developments in the Middle East and the G20 agenda, including the Prime Minister’s initiative to get better global cooperation on social media being used as a platform for terror content

Trump is expected to be accompanied by a number of high-profile staff such as State Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Affairs Ambassador John Bolton and his daughter, senior advisor Ivanka Trump. 

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and US Ambassador Joe Hockey will also attend. 

Mr Morrison said Australia and the US had different but complementary roles to play in the Indo-Pacific. 

"It is in our interest to continue working together with other players to advance regional stability and prosperity," he said. 

In a speech delivered on Wednesday in Sydney, Mr Morrison warned Australia will not be a "passive bystander" if the US and China fail to find a trade solution.

"We should not just sit back and passively await our fate in the wake of a major power contest," the prime minister said.

A senior Trump administration official, during a G20 briefing in the US on Monday, told reporters the "president will focus a lot on trade" in Osaka.

The White House signalled it was in no hurry to solve the trade dispute with China and Mr Trump would use his meeting with President Xi "to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off".

"The goal here, as the president has said many, many times, and I'm sure he'll make clear again, is that the purpose of these discussions is to rebalance the economic relationship in a way that protects US economic prosperity and workers," the official said.

"And of course, that also means the kinds of structural changes that would need to take place to protect intellectual property."

Mr Trump will also use the G20 to engage with world leaders and obtain support as tensions rise between the US and Iran.

The official described the president's meeting with Mr Putin as "a normal event that happens at these" summits.

"It is expected to be a conversation that will focus primarily on regional security issues, including Iran, Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East," said the official, previewing the meeting with the Russian leader.

Mr Trump will depart Osaka on Saturday for South Korea where he will spend the night before departing for Washington DC late on Sunday afternoon.

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