The two-day G-20 Summit is now happening in Hangzhou, China. It runs from the 4th to 5th of September.
- This is the first G-20 Summit to ever be held in China.
- The host of the Summit is the President of China, Xi Jinping.
- The leaders participating include: François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Narendra Modi, Matteo Renzi, Shinzo Abe, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Theresa May, and Barack Obama, and several more.
Here are the five things you need to know about the beginning of the summit:
1. US and China Commit To Preventing Global Warming
On Saturday, the day before the summit officially started, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping made a big announcement. They ratified the Paris Agreement, from last year’s UN climate change conference, on behalf of the US and China respectively. The two countries together represent 38% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, so their commitment to preventing further climate change is critical. As of now, a total of 26 countries have ratified the agreement.
2. Obama’s Awkward Airport Arrival
When Obama arrived in China on Saturday, he was greeted with an awkward welcome. As he disembarked from Air Force One, he had to use the tiny back exit of the plane and there was no red carpet. In addition, there was squabbling between the US and Chinese officials about press access. Usually, the US press who travel with the President are allowed to capture pictures and video of the President as he gets off the plane. Not so this time. Obama said he would make no apologies for pushing for the American press to have access, though he understood that all the people and security measures can be a bit imposing on the host country during trips like this one.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 4, 2016
3. US and Turkey Discuss Tension About The Kurds and Gulen
Barack Obama met with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday. Turkey plays an important role in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but their relationship is complicated. The US is also backing the Kurds in Syria, who are enemies of Turkey. Obama currently is pressing Turkey to stop airstrikes on the Kurds. Turkey believes Fethulah Gulen, who is currently in the US, is responsible for the attempted coup in July. Erdogan wants to US to hand him over, but Obama wants more evidence first, or he will have to deny the request—a move which would damage ties. Obama said that the “Justice Department and my national security team will continue to cooperate with Turkish authorities to determine how we will make sure that those who carried out these activities are brought to justice.”
4. The US and Russia Slowly Working Together On Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry worked with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to try and make a deal which would end the violent situation in Syria, after prior attempts to end hostilities failed. Unfortunately, they couldn’t reach a deal. President Obama remains skeptical but says there is a “possibility” for making progress on it. If a deal is reached, the currently chilly US-Russian relations would be in better shape before Obama leaves office.
5. Obama Met With Theresa May About Brexit
This marks Obama’s first meeting with Theresa May since she became Prime Minister, following David Cameron’s resignation. May made a statement that “Brexit does indeed mean Brexit,” so the plans for the UK to leave the EU are still moving forward. Despite his public opposition to Britain leaving the European Union, Obama reiterated that the “special relationship” between the US and the UK would continue. He said that “The bottom line is that we don’t have a stronger partner anywhere in the world than the United Kingdom…we have every intention of making sure that that continues.”