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Trump and Putin meet at Vietnam APEC summit -- but not officially

By Allen Cone
Trump and Putin meet at Vietnam APEC summit -- but not officially
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin as they pose for a group picture during the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday. Photo by Michael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/EPA-EFE

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump met and shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Vietnam, where the two leaders were expected to talk.

Although the meeting occurred, the White House said it wasn't an official gathering.

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En route to Vietnam earlier Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Air Force One, "There was never a meeting confirmed, and there will not be one that takes place due to scheduling conflicts on both sides.

"They're going to be in the same place. Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely. But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there's not one on the calendar and we don't anticipate that there will be one."

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After Sanders' comments, the Kremlin told reporters a meeting was still being negotiated. A Russian aide said earlier this week that Trump and Putin would meet at the summit.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday that "contradictory information was coming from the American side" and that "one way or another they [Putin and Trump] will meet on the sidelines."

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Moscow said Thursday there would be a meeting between the leaders at the APEC summit in Da Nang.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added Thursday that Trump would probably meet with Putin about North Korea's nuclear missile program.

The Vietnam meeting would be the second this year between the American and Russian presidents. In July, Trump and Putin met on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, and at a formal dinner.

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