Trump and Putin meet for first time

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

has sched­uled 35 min­utes for the meet­ing.

“Much to dis­cuss,” Trump tweeted be­fore the en­counter.

When asked if Putin was look­ing for­ward to the talks and whether he had lots of ques­tions for Trump, Krem­lin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did.

The heav­ily an­tic­i­pated meet­ing is be­ing closely scru­ti­nized for signs of how friendly a rap­port Trump and Putin will have. Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama, had no­to­ri­ously strained ties to Mos­cow, and Trump has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in a bet­ter US-Rus­sia re­la­tion­ship.

But deep skep­ti­cism about Rus­sia in the US and on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into whether Trump’s cam­paign co­or­di­nated with Mos­cow dur­ing last year’s elec­tion have made a de­tente po­lit­i­cally risky for Trump.

As lead­ers gath­ered at a sum­mit hall in Ham­burg for a group photo, Trump and Putin stood on op­po­site sides of the tableau. Putin chat­ted ca­su­ally with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel be­fore tak­ing his spot for the photo next to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

After the cam­eras snapped away, Merkel, in the cen­ter, dis­missed the group with a firm nod of the head.

In the lead-up to the meet­ing, Trump, dur­ing a speech in War­saw on Thurs­day, urged Rus­sia to “cease its desta­bi­liz­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in Ukraine and else­where and its sup­port for hos­tile regimes in­clud­ing Syria and Iran, and to in­stead join the com­mu­nity of re­spon­si­ble na­tions in our fight against com­mon en­e­mies and i n de­fense of civ­i­liza­tion it­self ”.

But much of the fo­cus both in Wash­ing­ton and Mos­cow will be on whether Trump broaches the is­sue of Rus­sia’s med­dling in the elec­tion.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Poland on Thurs­day, Trump again re­fused to ac­cept the con­clu­sion by mul­ti­ple US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies t hat Rus­sia had in­ter­fered to try to help him win in Novem­ber.

He said it could have been Rus­sia, but that other coun­tries could have med­dled, too.

“No­body re­ally knows for sure,” Trump said.

US law­mak­ers and in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­tinue to look into Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence, along with pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Trump cam­paign as­so­ci­ates and Rus­sian of­fi­cials. That puts Trump un­der in­tense scru­tiny over how he han­dles the sit­down with Putin.

The list of their meet­ing would in­clude is­sues range from Syria, Iran to Ukraine, and the Korean Penin­sula.

REUTERS

Don­ald Trump (left) and Vladimir Putin met for the first time in Ham­burg on Fri­day.

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