Japan's Abe wants G-20 to unite on trade, Middle East





TOKYO (AP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Wednesday to seek a consensus on trade and other contentious issues when he chairs this week's summit of the Group of 20 countries in Osaka.

Abe stressed the importance of global leaders overcoming their differences and joining hands in tackling difficult issues to send a strong message to the rest of the world.

"I hope to lead the summit by patiently finding common ground in order to achieve concrete results, rather than stressing or focusing on differences of opinion," Abe told a news conference marking the end of the parliamentary session. He said he hopes to send "strong messages" on a wide range of issues.

Abe, seeking to demonstrate his leadership as Japan hosts the G-20 summit for the first time, is pushing for agreements on less divisive issues such as handling of plastic waste. But he also has to steer the discussions on protectionism and other difficult topics.

G-20 finance ministers who gathered in Fukuoka in southern Japan earlier this month avoided using phrases such as "fight protectionism" in a joint statement.

Abe also expressed hope that the U.S. and China will resolve their trade dispute when their leaders meet during and on the sidelines of the summit on Friday and Saturday.

Planned talks between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday are receiving extensive attention and are almost eclipsing the main G-20 conference.

"Regarding the U.S.-China trade dispute, I expect the United States and China will constructively resolve the problem through dialogue," Abe said.

Abe also called for international efforts to restore peace in the Middle East, where tensions have escalated amid a dispute between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal.

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