BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — World leaders began arriving in Buenos Aires on Thursday for the summit of the globe's largest economies, with attention expected to focus on issues including a trade war between the United States and China, a new North American trade deal and the conflict in Ukraine.
Heads of state from Italy, Canada, South Korea, Singapore and Turkey were among the first in the country, joining the French president and Saudi crown prince who arrived the previous day.
The meeting could be a defining moment for the Group of 20, for better or for worse, said Thomas Bernes of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a Canada-based think tank focusing on global governance.
"The G-20 Leader's Summit is at risk of falling into disarray with the summit being overshadowed by items not on agenda, such as the United States and China trade war, Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the presence of the Saudi crown prince," Bernes said. "The true test will be whether the other members of the G-20 will act resolutely or whether will we witness the crumbling of the G-20 as a forum for international economic cooperation."
Trump canceled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin planned for Saturday, citing Russia's seizure of Ukrainian vessels over the weekend. Hours earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the two countries needed to discuss strategic stability, arms control and regional conflicts.
"We don't have to agree on all issues, and it wouldn't be possible anyway, but we need to talk," Petkov said, adding that "it's not only in the interests of our two countries, but the entire world."
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been accused by Human Rights Watch of war crimes in Yemen and responsibility for the gruesome slaying of newspaper columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. The kingdom denies he played a role in the killing.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.