Moscow and Washington discuss possible Putin-Trump meeting: RIA

The French president expressed support for Trump in his expected summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, but also warned his abrogation last month of a 2015 multilateral deal on the Iranian nuclear programme had cast doubt on the credibility of such agreements.

The divisions were laid bare on Friday, notably over trade.

On Thursday, Macron berated Trump for imposing unilateral tariffs on imported steel and aluminium rather than go through global arbitration, and for walking out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday the two leaders discussed the prospects for their meeting in a March phone call, and talked about locations with Vienna as a possibility.

He is not expected to stay till the end of the summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted the G-7 talks will be heated because of the American stance on trade.

The level of Mongolia's ties with the SCO should be lifted and Mongolia is welcome to participate in SCO cooperation in a more in-depth way, said Xi.

"We value the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination", said Putin, adding that friendship between the heads of state and friendship between the two peoples are the solid foundation for the bilateral strategic cooperation. But there's no doubt about Mr Trump's isolation.

Media captionDairy wars: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk?

On Friday, he cited Canada's 270 percent tariff on American milk.

Trump took the action on the grounds that weak domestic industries could affect USA national security.

"Take down you tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!"

The UK, who spearheaded the initiative, said a more coordinated approach was needed in the wake of a series of aggressive behaviour attributed to Russia, including the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and the 2017 "NotPetya" cyber-attack. "If it doesn't happen, we come out even better!"

Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.

After its annexation of Crimea, the other seven members shrunk the bloc and effectively kicked Russian Federation out until further notice, starting with a summit in 2014. On the National Security and Defense section of his "Promises Kept" website, the Trump re-election campaign highlights almost two-dozen separate actions the Trump administration has taken against Russian Federation "to punish those who seek to undermine American democracy and stability".

"Trump's policies justified (the) growing closeness, especially for Russian Federation but also for China given the volatile relationship with the United States", Repnikova told AFP.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing at the start of a state visit ahead of a summit featuring their two countries and six Asian states.

  • Joey Payne