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Westlake Legal Group > International Relations

Five Policy Clashes Between John Bolton and President Trump

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday fired his third national security adviser, John R. Bolton, as their positions on major foreign policy issues clashed, most recently on pursuing a peace plan with the Taliban.

The two men have regularly been at odds over how to take on major foreign policy challenges facing the United States. Mr. Bolton, a longtime national security hawk, held some views that contrasted with Mr. Trump’s, favoring sanctions and pre-emptive military action against some countries even as the president pursued diplomacy.

And on Tuesday, the two men also disagreed on the circumstances of Mr. Bolton’s ouster.

In a midday Twitter post, just 90 minutes before Mr. Bolton was scheduled to join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a briefing for reporters, Mr. Trump wrote that, on Monday night, he asked Mr. Bolton to submit his resignation and that Mr. Bolton complied Tuesday morning. But responding to a question from The New York Times via text, Mr. Bolton said he had offered Mr. Trump his resignation “last night without his asking,” and submitted it in the morning.

Here are five countries that prompted policy disagreements between Mr. Trump, who has been reluctant to expand military America’s footprint abroad, and Mr. Bolton during his 17 months in the post.

Most recently, Mr. Bolton was the leading voice against negotiating a peace plan with the Taliban — an idea supported by Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo with the goal of removing American troops from Afghanistan after almost 18 years of war. Mr. Trump went so far as to schedule negotiations to take place at Camp David over Labor Day weekend.

Mr. Bolton had argued that the United States could withdraw some troops from Afghanistan — and keep one of the president’s campaign promises — without making a pact with members of a terrorist group.

Mr. Trump ultimately canceled the meeting, but aides in support of the negotiations blamed Mr. Bolton for public leaks about his opposition.

Mr. Trump views one of his major foreign policy achievements to be the melting of tensions between the United States and North Korea. While Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he was “not happy” that North Korea chose to conduct weapons tests in May, he has played down their significance and said that the tests did not distill his optimism that the two countries could continue negotiations over American sanctions and the North’s denuclearization efforts.

But Mr. Bolton saw no gray area in those tests and declared that they violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.

After Mr. Trump became the first sitting American president to set foot in North Korea when he met with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in June, Mr. Bolton reacted angrily to a New York Times report about a possible agreement in which the United States would make concessions in exchange for North Korea freezing its nuclear activity. Mr. Bolton had long argued that North Korea should dismantle its entire nuclear program before getting any reward. But others in the administration, including the president, were open to considering a step-by-step process.

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Westlake Legal Group bolton-video-videoSixteenByNine3000-v10 Five Policy Clashes Between John Bolton and President Trump Venezuela United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Russia North Korea Iran International Relations Embargoes and Sanctions Defense and Military Forces Bolton, John R Afghanistan

Tensions between the United States and Iran have sharply increased. John Bolton, the national security adviser, has long pushed for regime change in Iran. One of his chosen replacements is the dissident group Mujahedeen Khalq, known as M.E.K.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Long before he was Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Mr. Bolton had advocated military action against Iran. Mr. Trump has recently focused on a diplomatic approach to Iran, saying he was willing to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances. The meeting would be the first of its kind since the Tehran hostage crisis that began in 1979 and ended in 1981.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolton did agree on one major policy decision: withdrawing the United States from the Obama-era nuclear deal in May 2018. Tensions between the two countries have risen due to that decision and the crippling sanctions the United States reimposed on Iran. In June of this year, the president rejected a plan by his advisers, led by Mr. Bolton, to retaliate with military action after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone, saying that such an attack would have been disproportionate.

After the United States and allied countries declared that President Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government was illegitimate and threw their support behind the opposition movement led by Juan Guaidó, Mr. Trump grew frustrated that the efforts to push out Mr. Maduro had not met with immediate success.

The Trump administration learned it had less influence in the region than anticipated, leaving the White House-backed opposition in a stalemate with the Maduro government for months. Mr. Trump has questioned his administration’s strategy there, while Mr. Bolton continued to push for more pressure from the United States, and in August said, “now is the time for action.”

As recently as last month, Mr. Bolton assured Ukranians that they would receive support in their conflict with Russian separatists, but the White House has done little to show it backs that promise. In recent days, the White House has delayed a military assistance package for the Ukranian government. And Mr. Trump has privately told aides that he considers Ukraine to have a corrupt government.

Mr. Bolton has also confronted Russia over its election interference, a notoriously touchy subject for Mr. Trump, who sees discussion of it as undermining his legitimacy.

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How Emmanuel Macron Positioned Himself as Star of the G7 Show

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron of France seemed to be everywhere at once during the Group of 7 summit. For the space of a weekend, at least, the West appeared to have one person running the show, and it was not the American president.

One day, Mr. Macron was wooing President Trump over a long, private lunch. The next he was flying in the Iranian foreign minister for unannounced talks. He seized the role as chief defender of the global climate, telling Brazilians to get themselves a new president. He even prompted a surprise diplomatic opening on Iran from Mr. Trump, even if both initiatives hit early headwinds on Tuesday.

Mr. Macron missed no opportunity to wring every advantage from his role as host of the summit in the southern resort city of Biarritz. It gave him the perfect stage to pursue his ambition, both grandiose and self-serving, to position France, and himself, as candidates to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Trump’s retreat from traditional Western values.

With Mr. Trump deepening American isolation on major global issues, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on a glide path out of power, Mr. Macron has become the leading champion of European unity and multilateralism.

Mr. Macron clearly wanted to use the Group of 7 forum to show the world that neither are dead letters. He also wanted to show off himself.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159699048_a48ba68b-5883-4ba7-bc87-447bc6248ee7-articleLarge How Emmanuel Macron Positioned Himself as Star of the G7 Show United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Politics and Government International Trade and World Market International Relations Group of Seven France Emmanuel Macron

The airplane that carried Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran at the Biarritz airport.CreditGeorges Gobet/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

[President Trump’s changing approach to the trade war has left much of the world off balance. Read more here.]

The Élysée Palace offered several news outlets behind-the-scenes access to the French president during the summit. Mr. Macron organized the events to avoid the missteps that have produced undiplomatic outbursts from Mr. Trump in the past.

His lunch with Mr. Trump lunch on Day 1 established that this forum was for two leaders as much as it was for seven, as did the leaders’ joint news conference at the summit’s end. Those touches went far in sating the American president’s ego, even as they effectively elevated the two men to the status of first among equals.

But Mr. Macron’s objective appeared to be not so much showing up his American counterpart as reasserting the efficacy of the European approach to global problems.

He said as much last week, telling journalists that the summit was a way to demonstrate that the “European civilization project” was an “answer” in a world searching for “global stability.”

“If we can’t redefine the terms of our sovereignty, we can’t defend our project,” Mr. Macron said to reporters before leaving for Biarritz. “Man is at the heart of the project,” he said, adding that the “relationship to the dignity of man, to humanism” was “the foundation of European civilization.”

Fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil this week. The president of Brazil accused Mr. Macron of treating the country ‘‘as if we were a colony or a no-man’s land.”CreditVictor Moriyama for The New York Times

In the context of global diplomacy, that means eschewing the threats, bullying and humiliation favored by Mr. Trump and what Mr. Macron called the “nationalist-sovereignists” in favor of multilateral diplomacy and a refusal to demonize adversaries.

Mr. Macron’s domestic stock, only lately creeping up after being battered by months of Yellow Vest protests, has improved further after what the French media characterized as a successful summit.

He “managed to be at the forefront and sometimes at the center of some of the hottest diplomatic issues of the day,” said Bruno Tertrais, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris.

Mr. Macron came out of the Group of 7 meeting “as well as any head of state can,” Mr. Tertrais said, adding that he had “appeared as someone who can achieve results on the key multilateral issues.”

“It does establish its credentials as a global leader for multilateralism and liberal values,” Mr. Tertrais said of the summit. “I’m actually quite favorably impressed.”

Not everyone was as enamored of the presumptive French role, however. Early in the weekend Mr. Trump’s aides complained that the agenda that Mr. Macron set focused more on what they called “niche issues” like climate change than on global economic challenges.

A working session of the Group of 7 leaders in Biarritz on Monday.CreditPool photo by Ian Langsdon

And on Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil angrily rejected an aid package of more than $22 million, offered by leaders at the summit, to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, and said Mr. Macron was treating Brazil ‘‘as if we were a colony or a no-man’s land.”

There was also little doubt that, try as he might to play the role of global standard-bearer, Mr. Macron would not get far without allies — particularly on issues like trade and climate change — and that their ranks were thinning.

Mr. Macron “seemed dynamic,’’ but relatively alone, said Nicolas Tenzer, who teaches at Sciences Po, a leading university for political science in Paris.

Mr. Tenzer said that Mr. Macron had ‘‘a better grasp of the issues” than Mr. Trump or Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, but added that, with the German chancellor nearing the end of her tenure, ‘‘he’s the only one.”

“It’s a great advantage, and also a source of solitude.’’

On the Iranian question in particular, Mr. Macron appeared to be nudging Mr. Trump in a new direction.

He got Mr. Trump to swallow the surprise visit of an Iranian official, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in the midst of a conflict that has escalated in recent months with a string of episodes involving oil tankers and drones near Iran.

A port in Shanghai. By the end of the summit, Mr. Trump sounded notes on the trade war that were far more conciliatory toward China.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

He even got Mr. Trump to agree, in principle, to a possible meeting with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Such a meeting would be the first between American and Iranian leaders since the Tehran hostage crisis of 1979-81, though Mr. Rouhani said that he would not sit down with Mr. Trump until Washington ended its economic sanctions.

“It’s the beginning of something,” Mr. Macron said.

Mr. Macron was careful to offer guarded praise for the American position, which he said “creates pressure, and conditions for a better agreement.” And he got Mr. Trump to say he was against “regime change” in Iran, reassuring European officials who have been worried about the worst for months.

On the economic front, Mr. Macron said a major issue for him was “Can we pacify international commerce?”

It was “an error in reasoning” to engage in “commercial war and isolationism,” Mr. Macron said. And again, he got Mr. Trump to sound notes on the trade war that were far more conciliatory toward China than over preceding days.

It was in his handling of Mr. Trump, the declared enemy of multilateralism and unabashed wrecker of summits, that Mr. Macron showed his greatest agility.

[World leaders have taken to soft-pedaling disagreements with Mr. Trump. Read more here.]

The relationship has had its ups and downs over the past two years, with the French president’s early efforts to woo his American counterpart proving spectacularly unsuccessful and eroding his popularity back home.

Mr. Trump’s motorcade in Paris in November for events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

The leaders clashed as recently as November, when Mr. Macron denounced nationalism in a speech at events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and Mr. Trump responded with a scathing series of Twitter posts that highlighted the French leader’s low approval rating.

This time was different. Mr. Macron’s technique was evident as the two men stood side by side at the final news conference: Mr. Macron appeared always respectful, sharply curbing his own tendency for long-winded, abstract explanations that might have irritated Mr. Trump.

Nor did Mr. Macron launch into the numbing detail on secondary issues with which he battered French journalists at a later news conference. And he went out of his way to praise a leader who has been openly mocked by a number of his counterparts.

“We’ve worked very closely, with lots of energy, with President Trump these last days,” Mr. Macron said at the news conference. “And we’re going to continue to work together in the coming months. We’ll be side-by-side in all of these fights.”

That one-on-one lunch he organized for Mr. Trump — aides only joined at the end — that evidently went far to mollify the American president. Mr. Trump spoke effusively about the meeting afterward.

“We had a lunch that lasted for quite a while, just the two of us,” Mr. Trump said. “It was the best period of time we’ve ever had. We weren’t trying to impress anybody, just each other.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Law Israel Used to Keep Omar and Tlaib Out

Israel’s decision on Thursday to bar two American Democratic congresswomen, Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, from visiting the country rests on a law passed just two years ago. Aimed at Israel’s critics, the law has been used to deny entry to outspoken foreign supporters of a global movement to boycott the country, which has significant support in Europe as well as the United States.

The announcement came hours after President Trump had encouraged Israel to deny the congresswomen entry, an extraordinary attempt to influence an ally and punish his domestic political opponents. In a statement, Ms. Omar called Israel’s decision an “insult to democratic values.”

Here’s some background on the Israeli law and how it has been implemented.

Passed in 2017, the law was aimed at outspoken supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement who encourage individuals and institutions to work to pressure Israel to end the occupation of much of the West Bank, grant full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel and allow Palestinians and their descendants in the diaspora to return to the homes from which they were displaced after the establishment of Israel in 1948.

The vote, which came at a time when the Israeli right was feeling emboldened by the election of Mr. Trump, received little initial notice in Israel. But it quickly drew criticism in the United States from the nation’s supporters and critics alike, who argued that it was anti-democratic and would further isolate Israel.

Bezalel Smotrich, the far-right minister of transportation and a co-sponsor of the bill, defended it at the time. “Preventing B.D.S. supporters who come here to hurt us from the inside is the very least we should be doing against haters of Israel,” he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153112899_c3864b9b-d6eb-4b31-a0ff-f7af54f564a8-articleLarge The Law Israel Used to Keep Omar and Tlaib Out United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J tlaib, rashida Omar, Ilhan Israel International Relations House of Representatives Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

Bezalel Smotrich, the far-right minister of transportation and a co-sponsor of the anti-boycott bill in Israel that was passed into law in 2017, in Tel Aviv earlier this year.CreditDan Balilty for The New York Times

The two congresswomen subject to Thursday’s announcement are the first Muslim women elected to Congress and are both outspoken in their support of Palestinians and the boycott movement, which the Democrat-majority United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to condemn last month.

Is B.D.S. Anti-Semitic? A Closer Look at the Boycott Israel Campaign

Jul 27, 2019

Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them

Aug 15, 2019

New Israel Law Bars Foreign Critics From Entering the Country

Mar 7, 2017

According to Ben Moore, a spokesman for the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry, which is charged with countering the boycott movement, 14 people have been denied entry under the law.

Thursday’s decision was the first time the law was used against American lawmakers, though seven French politicians and European Union parliamentarians were denied entry in late 2017, according to The Jerusalem Post. Israel also used the law last summer to keep out Ariel Gold, who is American, Jewish and the national co-director of the antiwar group Code Pink, which supports the boycott movement, according to The Associated Press.

Last October, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that an American could remain in the country to attend law school after the Interior Ministry had accused her of past support of the movement, while Omar Shakir, an American citizen and advocate for Human Rights Watch, is appealing a deportation order based on the law’s provisions.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Waning of American Power? Trump Struggles With an Asia in Crisis

WASHINGTON — For two and a half years, President Trump has said he is finally doing in Asia what he asserts his predecessor, Barack Obama, failed to achieve with a strategic pivot: strengthen American influence and rally partners to push back against China.

But as violence escalates and old animosities are rekindled across Asia, Washington has chosen inaction, and governments are ignoring the Trump administration’s mild admonitions and calls for calm. Whether it is the internal battles in India and Hong Kong or the rivalry between two American allies, Japan and South Korea, Mr. Trump and his advisers are staying on the sidelines.

The inability or unwillingness of Washington to help defuse the flash points is one of the clearest signs yet of the erosion of American power and global influence under Mr. Trump, who has stuck to his “America First” idea of disengagement, analysts say.

“Without the steady centripetal force of American diplomacy, disorder in Asia is spinning in all sorts of dangerous directions,” said William J. Burns, a deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration and the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The net result is not only increased risk of regional turbulence, but also long-term corrosion of American influence.”

All American administrations have limited ability to steer events abroad. Foreign governments often ignore requests from the United States. Since 2001, the nation’s long wars, especially in Iraq, have cost it credibility. And the emergence of China as an economic powerhouse and Russia as an anti-Western force means factors outside the Trump administration are contributing to the weakening of American power.

But critics say Mr. Trump’s policies — more focused on cutting American expenses abroad than on building partnerships — have sped that erosion and emboldened governments to ignore entreaties from Washington.

Indian troops are suppressing protests in the contested region of Kashmir after New Delhi ended the territory’s autonomous status, despite Mr. Trump’s offer last month to India and Pakistan to mediate the decades-old dispute.

South Korea announced on Monday that it was dropping Japan from a list of preferred trading partners, ramping up a conflict that jeopardizes Washington’s most important alliances in Asia. Mr. Trump’s top foreign policy officials had advised both nations to settle their differences, to no avail.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159146631_4cea0c8b-c1e1-45aa-9753-8a9038ef35ba-articleLarge Waning of American Power? Trump Struggles With an Asia in Crisis United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J South Korea Pakistan North Korea Kashmir and Jammu (India) Japan International Trade and World Market International Relations India Hong Kong Far East, South and Southeast Asia and Pacific Areas East Asia Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

Mr. Trump and his top officials have failed to send any strong signals on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

And Chinese officials said this week that Hong Kong protesters were starting to show the first signs of “terrorism” — an indication that the Communist Party in Beijing could order tougher measures to end the unrest, even after the Hong Kong police fired tear gas at crowds during the 10th weekend of protests.

Official Chinese news organizations are linking the Trump administration to the protests and labeled an American diplomat, Julie Eadeh, who met with student leaders, a “black hand.”

Tweeting on Tuesday that the Chinese were moving troops to the border with Hong Kong, Mr. Trump issued no warnings other than: “Everyone should be calm and safe!”

“The inability to manage the issues shows some real weakness in the president’s actual commitment to the strategy or any forward diplomatic engagement in Asia,” said Michael J. Green, a senior Asia director for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

Mr. Green, now a professor at Georgetown University, added that while the Trump administration was carrying out some useful strategies or tactics in Asia, “it is striking how ineffective the administration is on this Japan-Korea issue and how quiet on Kashmir.”

Though Mr. Trump has embraced a hands-off approach since he took office, some officials, including Matthew Pottinger, the senior Asia director on the National Security Council, have worked to formulate a big-picture strategy on Asia, with the aim of bolstering competition with China.

They have pledged to spend money on regional programs as part of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy, increased the rate of freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea and started a campaign to try to persuade nations to ban the use of communications technology from Huawei, the Chinese company.

But critics say Mr. Trump weakens the American position through continual acts of self-sabotage, including abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement that Mr. Obama had forged to create a united front against China.

Mr. Trump also lavishes praise on East Asia’s authoritarian leaders — he said that he and Kim Jong-un of North Korea “fell in love,” and that he and Xi Jinping of China “will always be friends.”

So far, he and his top officials have failed to send any strong signals on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. On Aug. 1, Mr. Trump employed the language used by Communist Party officials when he said Hong Kong has had “riots for a long period of time.”

“Somebody said that at some point they’re going to want to stop that,” he added. “But that’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China.”

Analysts said those comments would be interpreted by Chinese officials as a green light to take whatever action necessary to quell the protests.

Mr. Trump said in June that the United States and China were “strategic partners,” and the administration has held back from taking certain actions that would upset Beijing — notably, imposing sanctions on Chinese officials for the mass detentions of Muslims and approving the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

Mr. Trump’s main goal with China has been to reach a trade deal to end the costly tariff war, though the two sides have escalated the dispute after failed talks, leading to stock market turmoil.

Mr. Trump has also stood back during the intensifying feud between South Korea and Japan. On Friday, Mr. Trump said, “South Korea and Japan have to sit down and get along with each other.”

Administration officials say they do not want to be a mediator in the dispute, even though American security interests in the region could suffer — especially if Seoul and Tokyo end an intelligence-sharing agreement supported by Washington that is intended to help with North Korea containment. In late July, John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, called both sides to ask them to freeze their hostilities, and Mr. Pompeo made the same request of their foreign ministers at a summit in Bangkok.

South Korean and Japanese officials are ignoring the Americans. On Monday, Seoul said that not only was it ending a preferential trading partnership with Tokyo, but it was also naming Japan as the first nation on a new list of countries deemed to have bad export practices. Earlier this month, Japan announced that South Korea was no longer a preferred trading partner.

“By failing to act and assume leadership in the region, Trump is allowing nations with long, complicated histories to fall back into traditional rivalries,” said Jean H. Lee, a Korea expert at the Wilson Center.

“The more these nations feel the United States is an unreliable partner,” she added, “the more they will feel compelled to defend themselves. I’m already starting to hear growing calls in South Korea for their own nuclear weapons.”

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed ahead with what appears to be a yearslong plan by Hindu nationalist politicians to control Kashmir, a majority-Muslim region.

Some Indian analysts say Mr. Modi might have accelerated the move because of remarks made by Mr. Trump after his meeting last month with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan. Mr. Trump said that Mr. Modi had asked Mr. Trump earlier if he could mediate the Kashmir dispute. “If I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” Mr. Trump said.

That is a position welcomed by Pakistan, while India opposes outside involvement. India’s Ministry of External Affairs denied that Mr. Modi had any such conversation with Mr. Trump. Then on Aug. 5, the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status and began arresting top Kashmiri politicians — a complete rejection of Mr. Trump’s offer of mediation.

“There’s more the United States should do,” Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, said in an interview on Monday. “The United States is perhaps the only country that can make a difference.”

John J. Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, is traveling to India this week for meetings planned before the outbreak of the Kashmir crisis. It is unclear what he will say. Mr. Burns, his predecessor, said, “Modi’s India seems unfazed by any American concerns over the potential for escalation.”

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G20 Live Updates: U.S. and China Agree to Restart Trade Talks

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157182750_0429a038-22d8-4549-a912-00f0a8e8dcfe-articleLarge G20 Live Updates: U.S. and China Agree to Restart Trade Talks Xi Jinping United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Russia Putin, Vladimir V Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Kim Jong-un Khashoggi, Jamal Japan International Trade and World Market International Relations Group of Twenty China

President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China led a bilateral meeting in Osaka, Japan, on Saturday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

The United States and China have agreed to resume trade talks, President Trump said on Saturday after meeting with Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

During a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump said that the United States would not impose any new tariffs on Chinese exports as the talks resume.

The negotiations had broken down seven weeks ago when the Chinese side said that it could not accept some provisions that had been tentatively agreed to in an incomplete draft text.

“We discussed a lot of things, and we’re right back on track,” Mr. Trump told reporters early Saturday afternoon following his meeting with President Xi.

Mr. Trump later added, “We had a very, very good meeting with China, I would say probably even better than expected, and the negotiations are continuing.”

“The interests of the two sides are highly integrated and the areas of cooperation are broad,” Mr. Xi said, according to the People’s Daily, the main newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party. “They should not fall into the trap of so-called conflict and confrontation, but should promote each other and develop together.”

When talks broke down in early May, Mr. Trump had directed his aides to make the legal preparations to put 25 percent tariffs on another $300 billion a year worth of American imports from China. Those tariffs would be in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration has already imposed on $250 billion a year of Chinese goods.

Mr. Trump and his aides had not specified a date when he might actually impose the tariffs on the additional $300 billion. Mr. Trump did not mention these tariffs during his remarks to reporters early Saturday afternoon, saying that he would host a full news conference two hours later.

South Korean soldiers on guard in May in the village of Panmunjom, which lies inside the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.CreditKim Hong-Ji/Reuters

President Trump said on Saturday that he would visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Sunday and publicly invited Kim Jong-un, the North’s iron-fisted leader, to meet him there for what would be their third get-together.

In a post on Twitter as he started the second of two days of meetings in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Trump said that during his next stop, in South Korea, he would be happy to greet Mr. Kim across the line that has divided Korea for nearly 75 years.

North Korea indicated on Saturday that it would welcome such a meeting.

“I consider this a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received any official proposal,” Choe Son-hui, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, said in a brief statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Mr. Trump’s tweet caught the diplomatic corps in Asia and even the president’s own advisers off balance, since the last meeting between the two leaders, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, ended in dramatic failure, and no further substantive talks have taken place.

But Mr. Trump likes to be unpredictable and has made clear repeatedly in recent days that he is eager to restart negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. He told reporters that Saturday morning’s tweet was spontaneous. “I just thought of it this morning,” he said. “We’ll be there, and I just put out a feeler.”

And yet, in reality, he had been toying with the idea for days. The Hill, a Capitol Hill news organization, reported on Saturday after his tweet that Mr. Trump had actually signaled his interest in the idea during an interview on Monday, saying he “might” try to meet with Mr. Kim during an already planned but secret trip to the DMZ. The White House asked that his comment not be reported because of security concerns.

Mr. Moon’s office issued a statement supporting more contact with Mr. Kim without confirming any meeting this weekend. “Nothing has been decided, but our position remains unchanged that we want dialogue to happen between North Korea and the U.S.,” the statement said.

President Trump portrayed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia as a reformer opening up a long-closed society, while ignoring evidence of his complicity in the murder of a Saudi dissident.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

President Trump lavished praise on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, depicting him as a revolutionary figure who is modernizing his country and fighting terrorism, while ignoring evidence of his complicity in the murder of the writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Hosting Prince Mohammed for breakfast, Mr. Trump ignored questions from reporters about the prince’s role in the killing and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident, last October. Instead, the president portrayed the crown prince as a reformer opening up a long-closed society, specifically citing more freedom for women.

“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Mr. Trump told the crown prince. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you. You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The president also credited the Saudi royal family with cutting off aid to terrorist and extremist groups. “All of the money that was going for groups we don’t like has ceased, and I appreciate that very much,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve carefully followed it, we’ve studied it very carefully and you have actually stopped.”

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia finally granted women the right to drive a year ago, but progress toward more expansive women’s rights remains scant, and activists fighting for such rights have been arrested and face trial. In April, Prince Mohammed expanded his crackdown on even mild dissent with the arrests of at least nine intellectuals, journalists, activists and their relatives, including two with dual American citizenship.

The C.I.A. has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a longtime Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for The Washington Post while living in the United States. A United Nations investigator last week pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed as well.

While not addressing that on Saturday, Mr. Trump has recently played down the murder, saying that American arms sales to Saudi Arabia were too important to disrupt.

President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China at the G20 summit on Saturday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Although Mr. Trump has often praised President Xi Jinping of China, and declared they “will always be friends,” relations between Washington and Beijing have strained amid their bruising trade war.

Tariffs have been raised, tech companies have been blacklisted and American officials have argued around the world that a Chinese telecommunications giant poses a security threat to the West. The trade war is chilling business and investment almost everywhere, worsening a global economic slowdown.

American and Chinese officials appeared to be on the verge of a deal in April, but talks collapsed in May, after Beijing rejected some of the Trump administration’s demands. Since then, both Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi appear to have hardened their positions, leaving it unclear how they might resolve the tensions.

“At a minimum, it will be productive,” Mr. Trump said on Friday about the meeting.

Although he has played it cool ahead of the meeting, one factor that could be pushing Mr. Trump toward a deal with China is that his trade policies are broadly unpopular with American voters.

Large majorities of Democrats and independents say the tariffs Mr. Trump has imposed on Chinese goods — and the retaliatory tariffs that China has imposed on American products — will be bad for the United States, according to a survey this month for The New York Times by the online research platform SurveyMonkey.

Republicans still mostly support Mr. Trump’s trade policies, but there are cracks showing. A majority of Republicans said they expected tariffs to lead to higher prices for American consumers. Only among the president’s strongest supporters do a plurality believe his policies will bring back manufacturing jobs without raising prices, as Mr. Trump has claimed.

Over all, 53 percent of Americans say the China tariffs will be bad for the United States, compared with 43 percent who say the tariffs will be a good thing.

Most voters don’t put trade high on their list of top issues, however, and it barely came up at the first Democratic presidential debates this week. But if the trade war starts to damage the broader American economy, then all bets are off.

President Trump with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday in Osaka.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, amid meetings with President Trump and other leaders, has drawn attention for his remarks in an interview published on Friday — and for his bonhomie with Mr. Trump, who seemed to joke about being rid of journalists.

First, The Financial Times on Friday published an interview with Mr. Putin, in which he declared “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose.” He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had erred in allowing a million refugees into her country, and that Mr. Trump was right in trying to halt migrants from Central America.

“The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” he said. In a conference call with Russian-based reporters, Mr. Putin’s spokesman later clarified that Mr. Putin was not criticizing the liberal political order per se but what he saw as efforts by Western leaders to impose it to the exclusion of other political systems.

And in opening remarks before a meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin listened cheerily to an apparent joke about getting rid of journalists in Russia. “Get rid of them,” Mr. Trump said of reporters. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”

Mr. Putin responded that “it’s the same” in Russia. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the untimely deaths of 58 journalists in Russia in the post-Soviet period, many of them by murder or unexplained accidents.

President Trump appeared to make light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election on Friday as he met with President Vladimir V. Putin — seeming to again dismiss the conclusions of American intelligence agencies and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

At the opening remarks before the leaders’ meeting, a reporter asked whether Mr. Trump would tell Russia not to meddle in American elections. “Yes, of course I will,” he answered.

Turning to Mr. Putin, he said with a slight grin, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

Mr. Putin smiled, and Mr. Trump pointed at another Russian official, repeating, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

The remarks risked another domestic political backlash like the one Mr. Trump endured after the leaders’ last official meeting in Helsinki, Finland, when Mr. Trump, standing at Mr. Putin’s side, challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies about the Russian election operation and credited the Kremlin leader’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial.

Before their meeting on Friday, the presidents said they would discuss trade, arms control and other issues. A written summary of the meeting by the White House indicated that they had spoken about Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine as well — nations where the United States and Russia are at odds — but there was no mention of election interference or an international investigation that pointed to Russia in the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Crowley, Peter Baker, Keith Bradsher and Motoko Rich from Osaka, Japan, Jane Perlez from Beijing, Choe Sang-Hun from Seoul, South Korea, Andrew Kramer from Moscow and Ben Casselman from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

G20 Live Updates: China Says U.S. Agrees to Restart Trade Talks

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157174200_425b4539-8a41-4bba-b12c-5d6d1ab5349d-articleLarge G20 Live Updates: China Says U.S. Agrees to Restart Trade Talks Xi Jinping United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Russia Putin, Vladimir V Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Kim Jong-un Khashoggi, Jamal Japan International Trade and World Market International Relations Group of Twenty China

President Trump and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, fourth from left, during a working breakfast at the G20 summit on Saturday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

China and the United States have agreed to resume trade talks, official Chinese media announced Saturday after President Trump and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, held an 80-minute meeting during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

The talks had broken down seven weeks ago when the Chinese side said that it could not accept some provisions that had been tentatively agreed to in an incomplete draft text.

“We discussed a lot of things, and we’re right back on track,” Mr. Trump told reporters early Saturday afternoon following his meeting with President Xi.

Mr. Trump later added, “We had a very, very good meeting with China, I would say probably even better than expected, and the negotiations are continuing.”

China’s official Xinhua News Agency provided more detail, saying that the two sides had also agreed that the United States would not impose any new tariffs.

When talks broke down in early May, Mr. Trump had directed his aides to make the legal preparations to put 25 percent tariffs on another $300 billion a year worth of American imports from China. Those tariffs would be in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration has already imposed on $250 billion a year of Chinese goods.

Mr. Trump and his aides had not specified a date when he might actually impose the tariffs on the additional $300 billion. Mr. Trump did not mention these tariffs during his remarks to reporters early Saturday afternoon, saying that he would host a full news conference two hours later.

President Trump said on Saturday that he would visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Sunday and publicly invited Kim Jong-un, the North’s iron-fisted leader, to meet him there for what would be their third get-together.

In a post on Twitter as he started the second of two days of meetings in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Trump said that during his next stop, in South Korea, he would be happy to greet Mr. Kim across the line that has divided Korea for nearly 75 years.

North Korea indicated on Saturday that it would welcome such a meeting.

“I consider this a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received any official proposal,” Choe Son-hui, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, said in a brief statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“I believe that if a North Korea-U.S. summit is realized on the line dividing Korea, as President Trump wishes, it will become another opportunity to deepen the friendship that exists between the two heads of state and to improve relations of the two nations,” Ms. Choe said.

Mr. Trump’s tweet caught the diplomatic corps in Asia and even the president’s own advisers off balance, since the last meeting between the two leaders, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, ended in dramatic failure, and no further substantive talks have taken place. No serious preparations have been made for an encounter on Sunday.

But Mr. Trump likes to be unpredictable and has made clear repeatedly in recent days that he is eager to restart negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. He told reporters that Saturday morning’s tweet was spontaneous. “I just thought of it this morning,” he said. “We’ll be there, and I just put out a feeler.”

And yet, in reality, he had been toying with the idea for days. The Hill, a Capitol Hill news organization, reported on Saturday after his tweet that Mr. Trump had actually signaled his interest in the idea during an interview on Monday, saying he “might” try to meet with Mr. Kim during an already planned but secret trip to the DMZ. The White House asked that his comment not be reported because of security concerns.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to fly to Seoul late Saturday afternoon and have dinner with President Moon Jae-in, a strong proponent of diplomacy with North Korea. His DMZ visit would take place on Sunday before he flies back to Washington.

Mr. Moon’s office issued a statement supporting more contact with Mr. Kim without confirming any meeting this weekend. “Nothing has been decided, but our position remains unchanged that we want dialogue to happen between North Korea and the U.S.,” the statement said.

Experts on the region said Mr. Trump’s flair for theater was not a substitute for a serious negotiation strategy. “It’s like ‘The Bachelor,’” said Michael Green, who was President George W. Bush’s Asia adviser. “But North Korea has stated clearly it will only denuclearize part of its weapons program, and this won’t change any of that even if they do shake hands.”

President Trump lavished praise on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, depicting him as a revolutionary figure who is modernizing his country and fighting terrorism, while ignoring evidence of his complicity in the murder of the writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Hosting Prince Mohammed for breakfast, Mr. Trump ignored questions from reporters about the prince’s role in the killing and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident, last October. Instead, the president portrayed the crown prince as a reformer opening up a long-closed society, specifically citing more freedom for women.

“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Mr. Trump told the crown prince. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you. You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The president also credited the Saudi royal family with cutting off aid to terrorist and extremist groups. “All of the money that was going for groups we don’t like has ceased, and I appreciate that very much,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve carefully followed it, we’ve studied it very carefully and you have actually stopped.”

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia finally granted women the right to drive a year ago, but progress toward more expansive women’s rights remains scant, and activists fighting for such rights have been arrested and face trial. In April, Prince Mohammed expanded his crackdown on even mild dissent with the arrests of at least nine intellectuals, journalists, activists and their relatives, including two with dual American citizenship.

The C.I.A. has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a longtime Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for The Washington Post while living in the United States. A United Nations investigator last week pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed as well.

While not addressing that on Saturday, Mr. Trump has recently played down the murder, saying that American arms sales to Saudi Arabia were too important to disrupt.

Although Mr. Trump has often praised President Xi Jinping of China, and declared they “will always be friends,” relations between Washington and Beijing have strained amid their bruising trade war.

Tariffs have been raised, tech companies have been blacklisted and American officials have argued around the world that a Chinese telecommunications giant poses a security threat to the West. The trade war is chilling business and investment almost everywhere, worsening a global economic slowdown.

American and Chinese officials appeared to be on the verge of a deal in April, but talks collapsed in May, after Beijing rejected some of the Trump administration’s demands. Since then, both Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi appear to have hardened their positions, leaving it unclear how they might resolve the tensions.

“At a minimum, it will be productive,” Mr. Trump said on Friday about the meeting.

Although he has played it cool ahead of the meeting, one factor that could be pushing Mr. Trump toward a deal with China is that his trade policies are broadly unpopular with American voters.

Large majorities of Democrats and independents say the tariffs Mr. Trump has imposed on Chinese goods — and the retaliatory tariffs that China has imposed on American products — will be bad for the United States, according to a survey this month for The New York Times by the online research platform SurveyMonkey.

Republicans still mostly support Mr. Trump’s trade policies, but there are cracks showing. A majority of Republicans said they expected tariffs to lead to higher prices for American consumers. Only among the president’s strongest supporters do a plurality believe his policies will bring back manufacturing jobs without raising prices, as Mr. Trump has claimed.

Over all, 53 percent of Americans say the China tariffs will be bad for the United States, compared with 43 percent who say the tariffs will be a good thing.

Most voters don’t put trade high on their list of top issues, however, and it barely came up at the first Democratic presidential debates this week. But if the trade war starts to damage the broader American economy, then all bets are off.

President Trump with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday in Osaka.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, amid meetings with President Trump and other leaders, has drawn attention for his remarks in an interview published on Friday — and for his bonhomie with Mr. Trump, who seemed to joke about being rid of journalists.

First, The Financial Times on Friday published an interview with Mr. Putin, in which he declared “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose.” He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had erred in allowing a million refugees into her country, and that Mr. Trump was right in trying to halt migrants from Central America.

“The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” he said. In a conference call with Russian-based reporters, Mr. Putin’s spokesman later clarified that Mr. Putin was not criticizing the liberal political order per se but what he saw as efforts by Western leaders to impose it to the exclusion of other political systems.

And in opening remarks before a meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin listened cheerily to an apparent joke about getting rid of journalists in Russia. “Get rid of them,” Mr. Trump said of reporters. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”

Mr. Putin responded that “it’s the same” in Russia. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the untimely deaths of 58 journalists in Russia in the post-Soviet period, many of them by murder or unexplained accidents.

President Trump appeared to make light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election on Friday as he met with President Vladimir V. Putin — seeming to again dismiss the conclusions of American intelligence agencies and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

At the opening remarks before the leaders’ meeting, a reporter asked whether Mr. Trump would tell Russia not to meddle in American elections. “Yes, of course I will,” he answered.

Turning to Mr. Putin, he said with a slight grin, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

Mr. Putin smiled, and Mr. Trump pointed at another Russian official, repeating, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

The remarks risked another domestic political backlash like the one Mr. Trump endured after the leaders’ last official meeting in Helsinki, Finland, when Mr. Trump, standing at Mr. Putin’s side, challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies about the Russian election operation and credited the Kremlin leader’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial.

Before their meeting on Friday, the presidents said they would discuss trade, arms control and other issues. A written summary of the meeting by the White House indicated that they had spoken about Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine as well — nations where the United States and Russia are at odds — but there was no mention of election interference or an international investigation that pointed to Russia in the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Crowley, Peter Baker, Keith Bradsher and Motoko Rich from Osaka, Japan, Jane Perlez from Beijing, Choe Sang-Hun from Seoul, South Korea, Andrew Kramer from Moscow and Ben Casselman from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

G20 Live Updates: Trump Invites North Korea’s Leader to Meet Him at DMZ

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157174200_425b4539-8a41-4bba-b12c-5d6d1ab5349d-articleLarge G20 Live Updates: Trump Invites North Korea’s Leader to Meet Him at DMZ Xi Jinping United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Russia Putin, Vladimir V Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Kim Jong-un Khashoggi, Jamal Japan International Trade and World Market International Relations Group of Twenty China

President Trump and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, fourth from left, during a working breakfast at the G20 summit on Saturday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

President Trump said on Saturday that he would visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Sunday and publicly invited Kim Jong-un, the North’s iron-fisted leader, to meet him there for what would be their third get-together.

In a post on Twitter as he started the second of two days of meetings in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Trump said that during his next stop, in South Korea, he would be happy to greet Mr. Kim across the line that has divided Korea for nearly 75 years.

The tweet caught the diplomatic corps in Asia and even the president’s own advisers off balance, since the last meeting between the two leaders, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, ended in dramatic failure, and no further substantive talks have taken place. No serious preparations have been made for an encounter on Sunday.

But Mr. Trump likes to be unpredictable and has made clear repeatedly in recent days that he is eager to restart negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. He told reporters that Saturday morning’s tweet was spontaneous. “I just thought of it this morning,” he said. “We’ll be there, and I just put out a feeler.”

Mr. Trump is scheduled to fly to Seoul late Saturday afternoon and have dinner with President Moon Jae-in, a strong proponent of diplomacy with North Korea. His DMZ visit would take place on Sunday before he flies back to Washington.

Mr. Moon’s office issued a statement supporting more contact with Mr. Kim without confirming any meeting this weekend. “Nothing has been decided, but our position remains unchanged that we want dialogue to happen between North Korea and the U.S.,” the statement said.

Experts on the region said Mr. Trump’s flair for theater was not a substitute for a serious negotiation strategy. “It’s like ‘The Bachelor,’” said Michael Green, who was President George W. Bush’s Asia adviser. “But North Korea has stated clearly it will only denuclearize part of its weapons program, and this won’t change any of that even if they do shake hands.”

President Trump lavished praise on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, depicting him as a revolutionary figure who is modernizing his country and fighting terrorism, while ignoring evidence of his complicity in the murder of the writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Hosting Prince Mohammed for breakfast, Mr. Trump ignored questions from reporters about the prince’s role in the killing and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident, last October. Instead, the president portrayed the crown prince as a reformer opening up a long-closed society, specifically citing more freedom for women.

“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Mr. Trump told the crown prince. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you. You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The president also credited the Saudi royal family with cutting off aid to terrorist and extremist groups. “All of the money that was going for groups we don’t like has ceased, and I appreciate that very much,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve carefully followed it, we’ve studied it very carefully and you have actually stopped.”

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia finally granted women the right to drive a year ago, but progress toward more expansive women’s rights remains scant, and activists fighting for such rights have been arrested and face trial. In April, Prince Mohammed expanded his crackdown on even mild dissent with the arrests of at least nine intellectuals, journalists, activists and their relatives, including two with dual American citizenship.

The C.I.A. has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a longtime Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for The Washington Post while living in the United States. A United Nations investigator last week pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed as well.

While not addressing that on Saturday, Mr. Trump has recently played down the murder, saying that American arms sales to Saudi Arabia were too important to disrupt.

President Trump with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday in Osaka.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, amid meetings with President Trump and other leaders, has drawn attention for his remarks in an interview published on Friday — and for his bonhomie with Mr. Trump, who seemed to joke about being rid of journalists.

First, The Financial Times on Friday published an interview with Mr. Putin, in which he declared “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose.” He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had erred in allowing a million refugees into her country, and that Mr. Trump was right in trying to halt migrants from Central America.

“The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” he said. In a conference call with Russian-based reporters, Mr. Putin’s spokesman later clarified that Mr. Putin was not criticizing the liberal political order per se but what he saw as efforts by Western leaders to impose it to the exclusion of other political systems.

And in opening remarks before a meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin listened cheerily to an apparent joke about getting rid of journalists in Russia. “Get rid of them,” Mr. Trump said of reporters. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”

Mr. Putin responded that “it’s the same” in Russia. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the untimely deaths of 58 journalists in Russia in the post-Soviet period, many of them by murder or unexplained accidents.

President Trump appeared to make light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election on Friday as he met with President Vladimir V. Putin — seeming to again dismiss the conclusions of American intelligence agencies and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

At the opening remarks before the leaders’ meeting, a reporter asked whether Mr. Trump would tell Russia not to meddle in American elections. “Yes, of course I will,” he answered.

Turning to Mr. Putin, he said with a slight grin, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

Mr. Putin smiled, and Mr. Trump pointed at another Russian official, repeating, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

The remarks risked another domestic political backlash like the one Mr. Trump endured after the leaders’ last official meeting in Helsinki, Finland, when Mr. Trump, standing at Mr. Putin’s side, challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies about the Russian election operation and credited the Kremlin leader’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial.

Before their meeting on Friday, the presidents said they would discuss trade, arms control and other issues. A written summary of the meeting by the White House indicated that they had spoken about Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine as well — nations where the United States and Russia are at odds — but there was no mention of election interference or an international investigation that pointed to Russia in the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine.

Around the G20 summit on its first day:

  • Prime Minister Theresa May met President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia with a frosty handshake and colder words. She told him that Britain would not normalize relations with Russia until it ceases “hostile interventions” such as disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks, according to her office. She also told him Britain had irrefutable evidence Russia was behind the use of a deadly nerve agent to target a Russian former spy living in Britain, her office said.

    Mr. Putin played down the poisoning case, saying in The Financial Times interview that it was “not worth five kopecks, or even five pounds.” He also said: “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished.”

  • A day after lashing out at Germany and India, President Trump treated their leaders to friendly conversation. After criticizing India’s trade policies, he congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for his recent re-election, and made conciliatory comments about the need for close relations. With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — a nation the president has accused of freeloading — Mr. Trump brought up his thoughts on the Democratic debate.

    “Perhaps you saw it,” he told her. “It wasn’t very exciting, I can tell you that. And they have another one going on. They definitely have plenty of candidates, that’s about it. So I look forward to spending time with you rather than watching.”

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is campaigning for a dramatic reduction of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans — a major challenge for Japan, the second-largest generator of plastic packaging waste per person, behind the United States. Experts say the problem is bigger than just disposal: Plastic consumption is deeply embedded in Japanese culture, and many nations export their trash to poorer countries that may not have sophisticated recycling systems.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Crowley, Peter Baker, Keith Bradsher and Motoko Rich from Osaka, Japan, Jane Perlez from Beijing, Andrew Kramer from Moscow and by Ben Casselman from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran

WASHINGTON — In the days leading up to President Trump’s decision on whether to launch a missile strike against Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commanded the stage.

After warning that Mr. Trump was prepared to use force because of Iran’s suspected role in oil tanker attacks, Mr. Pompeo flew to Florida on Monday to strategize with generals at Central Command. Back in Washington, he briefed the foreign minister of the European Union on intelligence. By Thursday, he was pressing the case in the White House Situation Room for a strike.

Mr. Pompeo was steering Mr. Trump toward one of the most consequential actions of the administration. Only at the last minute did the president reverse course and cancel the strike.

The confrontation with Iran has put a spotlight on the extent of Mr. Pompeo’s influence with Mr. Trump. In an administration that churns through cabinet members at a dizzying pace, few have survived as long as Mr. Pompeo — and none have as much stature, a feat he has achieved through an uncanny ability to read the president’s desires and translate them into policy and public messaging. He has also taken advantage of a leadership void at the Defense Department, which has gone nearly six months without a confirmed secretary.

“Trump has created a giant vacuum at the Department of Defense on the civilian side,” said Eric Edelman, a former senior Pentagon official under George W. Bush. “Nature abhors a vacuum — and so does politics.”

But as the debate over the strike showed, the uncompromisingly hawkish views Mr. Pompeo holds on Iran are starting to clash with the perspective of a president deeply skeptical of military entanglements, especially in the Middle East.

Mr. Pompeo is unlikely to publicly signal frustration with the president. Some officials say he would work through the bureaucracy to push his policy goals while on the surface sticking to the role of loyal soldier, if only because he harbors political ambitions for which Mr. Trump’s support would be invaluable. Despite Mr. Pompeo’s insistence that he has “ruled out” a Senate run next year in Kansas, many Trump administration officials expect him to enter the race.

Mr. Pompeo, 55, is as much a diplomat in cultivating Mr. Trump’s inner circle as he is abroad. On Thursday, he appeared alongside Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, at the unveiling of a report on human trafficking. And he speaks regularly with her husband and Mr. Trump’s Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner — on some days more often than with foreign officials, according to a former Trump administration official familiar with his activities.

An evangelical Christian originally from California and former Tea Party congressman supported by the Koch family, Mr. Pompeo has operated for 14 months as Mr. Trump’s right-hand man around the globe, be it in Pyongyang, Riyadh or Brussels — and this week, he will once again be at Mr. Trump’s side at the G-20 summit meeting in Japan, after a stop in India.

Less apparent is how he has recently expanded his shadow role in matters of the military and intelligence, an extension of his experiences as a young Army tank unit captain in Germany and his first administration job as C.I.A. director.

With command of the Pentagon in flux since Jim Mattis resigned in December, Mr. Pompeo has asserted his views much more forcefully in national security debates, current and former officials say.

He is also widening his network in the cabinet. Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, was Mr. Pompeo’s deputy at the agency and is keen to maintain strong relations with him, knowing that that helps keep her in Mr. Trump’s good graces, the officials say. And the incoming acting defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, was a classmate of Mr. Pompeo at West Point. His presence could help bolster Mr. Pompeo’s influence — especially in counterpoint to Mr. Pompeo’s main power rival but frequent policy ally, John R. Bolton, the aggressive national security adviser.

On Iran, Mr. Pompeo has been the public face of the administration’s hawks, and internally he has even argued for policies that generals have deemed too provocative.

“What Pompeo and Bolton have done is drive the president into a corner,” said Wendy R. Sherman, a former top State Department official who helped lead negotiations with Iran in the Obama administration. “The maximum pressure campaign through the sanctions has only strengthened the hard hard-liners in Iran, just like Pompeo and Bolton are the hard hard-liners in our country.”

Prone to bluster and flashes of anger, Mr. Pompeo regularly uses military jargon when speaking of diplomacy — “mission set,” “commander’s intent,” diplomats as “warriors.” He has even described his wife, Susan Pompeo, a frequent traveling companion, as a “force multiplier.”

But Mr. Pompeo’s military leanings and embrace of hard-line policies, especially on Iran, could lead to conflict with Mr. Trump, who insists on keeping to his campaign promise of withdrawing troops from war zones. That contradiction came to the fore on Thursday night, when Mr. Trump rejected the recommendation by Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton to strike Iran for the downing of an American drone earlier that day.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 22dc-pompeo2-articleLarge Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike International Relations Espionage and Intelligence Services Defense and Military Forces

A leadership void at the Defense Department has empowered Mr. Pompeo to help steer President Trump.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Still, Mr. Trump voices support for the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions on Iran that Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton have pushed. On Friday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter: “Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

No officials could point to any new sanctions, though the president said on Saturday that he planned to impose “major” additional sanctions on Monday. And Mr. Trump has never addressed the common argument that the reimposition of crippling sanctions last year is what has pushed Iran to lash out. Iran had spent a year working with European nations to try to contain the damage from Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear containment deal that major world powers support.

In the Situation Room on Thursday, Mr. Pompeo argued that in addition to launching a strike, the administration should continue the sanctions campaign and let the recent cut in oil revenues sink in, according to an official familiar with the debate.

“Of all the top administration officials, I think Pompeo is the most secure and also the best at channeling Trump,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who advises Trump administration officials and advocates sanctions on Iran.

But Mr. Pompeo’s militant stand on Iran has led some prominent Trump supporters to push for his ouster because of what they see as a betrayal of Mr. Trump’s “America First” isolationism. On Thursday night, after Mr. Trump called off the strike, Douglas Macgregor, a retired army colonel, told Fox News that Mr. Trump “needs to get rid of the warmongers. He needs to throw these geniuses that want limited strikes out of the Oval Office.”

Mr. Trump has said he reins in Mr. Bolton, but has never mentioned doing the same with Mr. Pompeo.

If staying in Trump’s good graces is one guiding star for Mr. Pompeo, another is his religion. He has been open about the influence of Christian theology on his policies, especially those involving the Middle East.

A telling moment came in March when Mr. Pompeo visited Jerusalem, where he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat that Iran poses to Israel. An interviewer from the Christian Broadcasting Network posed a question around a biblical tale about a queen who saved Jews from being massacred by a Persian viceroy: Did Mr. Pompeo think President Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”

“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Mr. Pompeo said, noting with pride “the work that our administration’s done, to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

One month after starting his job in April 2018, Mr. Pompeo worked with Mr. Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. And he went much further: He announced 12 demands that Iran would have to meet before the United States considered lifting renewed sanctions. Mr. Pompeo has a grand goal of undermining what he calls Iran’s “expansionist foreign policy” — a mission that Mr. Trump never mentions. Iranian leaders see meeting the 12 demands as tantamount to regime suicide, analysts say.

“Most of them are unacceptable to the Iranians,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the top career State Department official under President George W. Bush. “As a result, we’ve had zero contact with them and no ability to influence their behavior.”

Mr. Pompeo’s drive to confront Iran on all fronts has become conflated with the aim of keeping limits on its nuclear program. By contrast, top officials under Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama kept a compartmentalized focus on the nuclear issue, since that was more easily addressed alone.

In April, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton pushed Mr. Trump to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, even though Pentagon and C.I.A. officials opposed the action, saying it could provoke attacks. Mr. Pompeo then announced the end of permission for eight governments, including American allies, to bypass sanctions in buying oil from Iran. Those moves, analysts say, have led to the current crisis.

In recent classified briefings to Congress and in public declarations, Mr. Pompeo has discussed ties between Iran and Al Qaeda. Democratic and some Republican lawmakers say that is a blatant attempt to lay the groundwork for bypassing the need for new congressional war authorization if Mr. Trump decides to strike Iran.

Lawmakers also question Mr. Pompeo’s role in stalled policy on other signature Trump issues, such as Venezuela and North Korea. The North, unlike Iran, actually has a nuclear arsenal.

And lawmakers have grilled Mr. Pompeo on his unwavering support of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who American intelligence officials say was responsible for the killing of the columnist Jamal Khashoggi and who is leading an air war in Yemen that has resulted in a humanitarian disaster. Legislators are also furious that Mr. Pompeo has sought to circumvent the congressional approval process for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Critics say that growing scrutiny of Mr. Pompeo is warranted given his unrelenting attacks on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings when he was a congressman — and given the potential threats to the United States resulting from the administration’s foreign policy.

“I think Pompeo,” Ms. Sherman said, “is very much an architect of where we are now.”

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In Trump’s Iran Response, Some See a Dangerous Ambiguity

President Trump’s decisions to order and then suddenly abort a military strike against Iran set off a debate across the region on Friday over whether his stop at the brink amounted to his gravest threat yet or a sign of capitulation.

Iranians, locked in an escalating standoff with Mr. Trump over the previous six weeks, quickly sought to portray the aborted strike as evidence that he had blinked first, proving what they called his reluctance to fight and eagerness to compromise.

Iranian foes in neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, on the other hand, argued that Mr. Trump’s willingness to come so close to military action — with warplanes in the air, ships in position, and missiles minutes from launching — instead meant that Iran should expect an even more serious retaliation if it sought to lash out again at the United States or its close allies.

And the ambiguity itself, some argued, may now pose its own danger: Hard-liners in Iran could become emboldened to further test Mr. Trump, while at the same time raising the expectations among some of his closest allies that he will let the missiles fly the next time.

“The risk of what Trump has done is that it conveys a confusing message to other parts of the world,” said Sir Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to Washington who was previously stationed as a diplomat in Iran. “Is he a blowhard? Is he secretly cautious — an Obama in wolf’s clothing? Or was new information brought to his attention that made him change his mind?”

The dangers posed by Mr. Trump’s ambiguity are acute inside Iran, where hard-liners with an eye on domestic politics can argue that “we were right, the red lines were much higher, and we can push back even more,” said Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, at the Royal United Services Institute, a research center in London.

Mr. Trump initially ordered the attack in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone by an Iranian missile near the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran and Washington dispute whether the drone was in or merely near Iranian airspace.

But the stage for the current conflict was set last year when Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 deal to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Iran continued to comply with its end of that deal until May, when the Trump administration added new sanctions intended to cripple Iran’s ability to sell oil anywhere in the world.

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Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps displayed debris from what they said were fragments of the American drone.CreditTasnim News Agency, via Reuters

With Iran’s oil revenue plunging and its economy weakened, Iranian officials denounced the new sanctions as economic warfare and declared that they would begin enriching more uranium, in a step that would exceed the limits of the 2015 deal.

The United States has since accused Iran of using limpet mines to damage a total of six petroleum tankers in two separate incidents in the waterways leading to the Persian Gulf. Iran denies those accusations.

Citing the shooting down of the drone and threats of American airstrikes, several international airlines said Friday that they were diverting planes from flying over the Strait of Hormuz and parts of Iran.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday that prohibited all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of “heightened military activities and increased political tensions.”

Iran has not commented publicly on the aborted American strike, but unidentified Iranian officials appeared to seek to put their spin on the events in comments to Reuters. The news service reported on Friday that these officials said President Trump had used intermediaries in Oman to warn of an imminent attack if Iran did not reopen talks with Washington.

“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” an Iranian official said, according to Reuters, and another said the Iranians had refused the ultimatum and warned that any attack would have consequences.

Mrs. Tabrizi of the Royal United Services Institute said many in the Iranian government now appeared to believe Mr. Trump had backed down.

“Those inside Iran who were pushing for more resistance, more retaliation will say, ‘See? We were right! Trump does not want war. Let’s push the situation,” she said. That could lead them to miscalculate the administration’s future reactions.

The European Union, which was also a party to the nuclear deal with Iran, is convening a conference with Iran next week in an effort to preserve that agreement and address “challenges arising from the withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions by the United States,” the bloc said in a statement.

On Friday, some Europeans applauded Mr. Trump for his show of restraint. “A strike would undoubtedly mean escalation, and can you control that?,” said Carl Bildt, a former foreign minister of Sweden.

Friday prayers in Tehran. CreditReuters

But others saw Mr. Trump’s 11th-hour move as improvisation on a major military action, and a threat that could further undermine the strained trans-Atlantic alliance.

“It is not entirely clear that Trump has any idea of what he’s going to do next, and that’s very disturbing,” said François Heisbourg, a former French defense official. “Europeans are powerless,” he said, but “that doesn’t mean we are not petrified.”

In a measure of the confusion about Mr. Trump’s thinking, though, analysts more hawkish toward Iran argued that Mr. Trump had played it perfectly, including by making public his differences with his advisers and the last-minute switch.

It “creates a credibility to the threat,” argued Giora Eiland, retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces and a former head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Now, Mr. Eiland said, the Iranians “are very frightened today from the American retaliation.”

He argued that Iran’s leaders now understood that if they attack again — especially so directly, and against American targets or even Arab allies of the United States — “there will be a very, very massive American retaliation, and they don’t want to be in this scene.”

Analysts close to the rulers of Saudi Arabia praised Mr. Trump, too. “The fact that a military strike did not happen right away, or that the president is not trigger-happy, should not be viewed as a sign of weakness,” said Mohammed Khaled Yahya, the English language editor for the Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya news network.

“What the administration should be pressing for is for its maximum pressure campaign to run its course — that is the worst-case scenario for the Iranian regime.”

Still, there were few indications that Tehran would change its course any time soon, said Sanam Vakil, a scholar at Chatham House, a London-based research organization.

Mr. Trump has said he would require Iran to agree to talks over at least new limits on its nuclear program before lifting any sanctions. Iran’s leaders have said the United States must rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement, and that they will refuse to talk under coercion or before some sanctions relief.

“They are in a complete stalemate,” Ms. Vakil said.

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Taiwan’s iPhone Tycoon Walks a Fraught U.S.-China Line in Presidential Run

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Like other presidential hopefuls in Taiwan, Terry Gou has spent the past few weeks working on his public image by carrying toddlers, wrapping dumplings and helping farmers.

Unlike the other candidates, he is a billionaire, the chairman of Foxconn, a major Apple supplier that operates vast factories in China. He has also pressed the flesh with President Trump, who told him, Mr. Gou says, that being president is a “tough job.”

Should Mr. Gou become Taiwan’s president, Mr. Trump would have a lot of say over what might be the toughest part of his job: striking a delicate balance between the interests of the United States and China, especially as the two giants fight a bruising trade war.

On Friday, Mr. Gou handed over the reins of his sprawling electronics manufacturing empire to a new Foxconn operating committee to address potential conflicts of interest as he runs for president. He built Foxconn and amassed a personal fortune of $7 billion by skillfully straddling the gap between China and the United States. For years Foxconn has assembled the iPhone in China, helping make Apple what it is today and becoming China’s biggest private-sector employer at the same time.

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Mr. Gou and President Trump at the Foxconn groundbreaking event in Mount Pleasant, Wis., last year. Mr. Gou has said Mr. Trump told him being president is a “tough job.”CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Should he become Taiwan’s president, he will have to strike that balance on an even bigger scale. Mr. Gou has said Taiwan must tread carefully to avoid being trampled in the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington, especially as the United States has stepped up its support for Taiwan as a counterweight to China’s growing dominance in the region.

“If we are too optimistic and biased toward either side,” Mr. Gou wrote in a recent Facebook post, “it will push Taiwan to an unpredictable danger.”

What has been good for business might not be good for Mr. Gou’s political prospects in Taiwan, which is wary of China’s influence. Mr. Gou has cultivated good ties with Communist leaders for decades and has met Xi Jinping, China’s leader, several times. His business’s dependence on China is seen as offering Beijing leverage over him. Critics have questioned whether he would put Taiwan’s interests first when handling cross-strait matters.

Mr. Gou has moved to try to address those concerns. In addition to handing over management of the company, he has also suggested that Foxconn could move some of its production lines from the Chinese cities of Tianjin and Shenzhen to the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Mr. Gou praying at a temple in New Taipei City in April.CreditRitchie B. Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Even if Foxconn does relocate parts of the company from China to Taiwan, it would not amount to a decoupling from the Chinese market, said Lauren Dickey, an expert on China-Taiwan relations at CNA, a research firm in Arlington, Va. “The question, then, is whether these linkages become political risks or liabilities,” Ms. Dickey said.

Some voters who seek a stronger economy might find an appealing candidate in a billionaire businessman who runs a company with hundreds of thousands of employees and has repeatedly won tax benefits and land grants in his negotiations with local Chinese officials. Mr. Gou founded the company in Taiwan in 1974, initially producing components for black and white televisions and Atari joysticks. He opened the company’s first facility in China in 1988, in the southern city of Shenzhen, and later expanded its operations to central and northern China.

But Mr. Gou’s business brought jobs to China, not Taiwan. While doing so, Foxconn has come under heavy scrutiny over its employment practices. In 2010 it was hit by a wave of employee suicides, and in 2012 it admitted to hiring workers as young as 14. And as one analyst sees it, despite having a reputation for being a shrewd businessman, Mr. Gou is not known for delivering value to shareholders.

“Terry Gou has been a ruthless exploiter of local labor, tax breaks, and repeatedly floated fresh stakes in new companies to create equity value,” said Richard Kramer, a founder of the London-based technology research firm Arete. “But these stocks have consistently underperformed the market.” Foxconn representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan in April. Relations between Taiwan and mainland China have deteriorated during her presidency.CreditRitchie B. Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Business aside, many other voters are concerned about the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty and how the island’s leadership should manage China’s overtures and threats. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, but the majority of people in Taiwan want to retain de facto independence.

Mr. Gou is competing to be the presidential candidate for the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, which once ruled China and fled to Taiwan after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party. If he wins the primary, he will run against Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who belongs to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and is seeking re-election in January’s presidential vote.

The Kuomintang maintains that the government it installed in Taiwan is the rightful ruler of both China and Taiwan. Mr. Gou shares that view and has said he wants to improve Taiwan’s relations with Beijing, which have deteriorated during Ms. Tsai’s presidency. In recent months, however, Mr. Gou has struck a firmer tone with China, urging Beijing to recognize the existence of the island’s government. (A Chinese government spokesman politely rejected Mr. Gou’s statements.)

Ms. Tsai, despite pressure from Beijing, has refused to state that Taiwan and China are both part of the same country. Ties between Ms. Tsai’s administration and Beijing have been tense after the ruling Communist Party in China cut off communications with her over the issue. Beijing has used military, diplomatic and economic measures to intimidate Taiwan and isolate it from the global stage. Ms. Tsai has responded in part by building a closer relationship with the Trump administration.

American F-16s at a base in southern Taiwan in 2017. Mr. Gou has said that relying on Washington for the island’s national defense is an unreliable strategy.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Zhu Songling, director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Beijing Union University, said that, if elected in January, Mr. Gou could re-energize ties across the Taiwan Strait.

For all his friendliness with Mr. Trump, Mr. Gou has also asserted that relying on Washington for the island’s national defense is an unreliable strategy. In April he questioned the need for Taiwan to buy weapons from the United States. Taiwan’s military is currently waiting for approval from Washington for two major arms purchase requests: a $13 billion order including 66 F-16 jets, and a $2 billion order of tanks and other equipment.

China welcomes Mr. Gou’s skepticism over the arms sales, Mr. Zhu said.

“If Gou uses the businessman mind-set practice in politics,” Mr. Zhu said, “he may bring changes to cross-strait relations and the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship, and bring some new ideas.”

Mr. Gou still must secure the Kuomintang nomination in July. His main competitors in the primary are Han Kuo-yu, the popular mayor of Kaohsiung, who is regarded as Beijing’s preferred candidate, and Eric Chu, the former mayor of New Taipei City.

Mr. Gou’s similarities with Mr. Trump — his fondness for baseball caps and his forceful and unpredictable style — might appeal to voters who appreciate the American leader’s support for the island democracy.

The day that Mr. Gou met Mr. Trump at the White House in early May, he reassured Mr. Trump that a multibillion-dollar, taxpayer-subsidized factory in Wisconsin was on track. Yet the company is reportedly building a factory that is different from the contract it signed with the state, and might not create as many jobs as he had promised. Wisconsin taxpayers have already foot the bill for hundreds of millions of dollars in land and infrastructure for the project. Foxconn has said it still plans to move forward with the project and will make a variety of products there.

After his meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Gou posted photos of baseball caps he gave to Mr. Trump featuring the flags of the United States and Taiwan, and the slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

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