Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Friday begins a weekend of meetings among world leaders at the G20 summit in Argentina, and though President Donald Trump scrapped plans for a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has plenty on his schedule -- perhaps most notably, a discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The president and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Buenos Aires Thursday night for two days of high-stakes diplomacy in which trade discussions are likely to be at the forefront. Trump plans to speak directly with several leaders, including Xi, Argentinian President Mauricio Macro, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump was scheduled to speak with Putin as well, but he tweeted Thursday the meeting was off the table, citing ongoing tensions related to Russia's detention of three Ukrainian ships last weekend.
"Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting," he wrote.
Also, Trump will not meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to whom the U.S. president promised to be a "great ally" despite his reputed involvement in the death last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump told reporters he'd been willing to meet with Salman, but nothing was planned.
The summit will be the first time Salman meets with foreign heads of state since the Khashoggi slaying. The crown prince is expected to speak with Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres also said he's willing to meet with him, and Human Rights Watch urged Thursday that Argentina use the summit as an opportunity to investigate Salman for possible war crimes.
Trump will meet with Xi on Saturday evening. They likely will discuss ongoing trade tensions between the two countries that have included tit-for-tat tariff increases.
As he prepared to leave the White House for Argentina, Trump told reporters China was interested in negotiating a deal to ease the trade war.
"I don't know if I want to do it," he said. "I like the deal we have now."
Trump has repeatedly cited "billions of dollars pouring" into the U.S. economy because of the tariffs, but some industries have complained of higher prices and loss of sales because of the ongoing conflict.
Even if a deal with China doesn't happen, Trump has one trade deal in hand -- the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaces the North America Free Trade Agreement. The leaders of the three NAFTA countries signed the deal in Buenos Aires Friday.
The text of the agreement will next be sent to the respective governments' legislatures for ratification.