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Trump, Putin won't have formal meeting during APEC summit

Trump, Putin won't have formal meeting during APEC summit
From CBC - November 10, 2017

The White House announced early Friday before his arrival in Vietnam that President Donald Trump would not meet formally during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Trump had said had been expected.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed scheduling conflicts on both sides, but said it was possible the leaders could have a less formal encounter in Da Nang or at a later regional conference in the Philippines.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "There have been contradictory signals, and we do not have full understanding yet," according to Russian news wires.

But he added: "Both presidents are in town, and their paths will cross one way or another."

Peskov's prediction came true quickly, with Trump and Putin shaking hands ahead of the APEC gala dinner on Friday evening and standing next to each other for the group photograph, with leaders attired in traditional Vietnamese clothing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had told reporters in Beijing on Thursday that there was no reason to schedule a meeting if the U.S. and Russia are unable to make significant progress on issues including Syria and Ukraine.

Both sides have been working to reach agreement on how they hope to resolve Syria's civil war once the Islamic State group is defeated. The potential understanding comes as an array of forces are near a final defeat of IS, the extremist group that once controlled vast stretches of both Iraq and Syria.

APEC is the first of several summits Trump is scheduled to attend on his first official visit to Asia. It will be a change in pace the president, who has spent much of the week basking in elaborate welcome ceremonies and banquets between meetings with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China.

Trump pushes bilateral trade

Promising to put "America first" in his trade practices, Trump used a speech in Vietnam Friday to denounce multilateral agreements embraced by the region and deliver what appeared to be a rebuke to China, again railing against trade practices he says have put Americans out of work.

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