Trump questions if the west has 'the will to survive'

UNITED States President Donald Trump has questioned whether the west 'has the will to survive' as he lashed out at a range of threats from Islamic terror to Russia to North Korea in a speech before the G20 summit.

President Trump issued the warning as he gave a speech in Warsaw.

Mr Trump began his four-day trip to Europe in Poland ahead of the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany later today.

"As the Polish experience reminds us, the defence of the west ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail," he said.

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive."

"Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty," he said. "We must work together to counter forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are."

Speaking in front of 10,000 people at Krasinski Square - which memorialises the Warsaw uprising against Nazi occupation - Trump pointed to Poland as an example of resolve in the defence of Western traditions.

"The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out 'We want God'," Trump said.

"The transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever, and maybe in many ways, even stronger," he added.

Speaking in a country alarmed by Moscow's increasing military assertiveness, Trump hit out at Russia, just a day before his highly anticipated first face-to-face talks with President Vladimir Putin at the G20.

"We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes - including Syria and Iran - and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself."

In his first comments since North Korea launched an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile, Mr Trump said that Pyongyang's military sabre-rattling must bring "consequences" and warned he was considering a "severe" response to its 'very, very bad behaviour".

ELECTION INTERFERENCE 'WON'T BE TOLERATED'

Five senior Democrats have written a public letter to President Trump urging him to use his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 to "make absolutely" clear that Russian interference in US elections "will in no way be tolerated".

The letter was penned by Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Mark Warner, Jack Reed and Ben Cardin.

"The upcoming elections cannot be a playground for President Putin," they wrote to President Trump.

"It remains critical that you set the agenda from the start and make absolutely clear that Russian interference in our democracy will in no way be tolerated,"

The letter referenced US intelligence findings that Putin directed the election interference.

"The Intelligence Community's assessment concluded that Russia's interference in the elections was only 'the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.'

"Put more simply, President Putin directed an attack on the most central tenet of our democracy - our election. Not raising this matter with President Putin would be a severe dereliction of the duty of the office to which you were elected."

TURNBULL ISSUES WARNING AHEAD OF G20

A has warned rogue state North Korea to stop its "reckless" actions in the wake of last week's intercontinental missile launch, or face punishment.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking from Germany, called on China to use its influence.

China does serious business with North Korea and the United States, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and other leaders have suggested increased sanctions against North Korea while world leaders are meeting in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 economic summit.

Asked about it, Mr Turnbull was firm.

"The actions of the North Korean regime are illegal, they are dangerous, they are a provocation and they've been escalated," Mr Turnbull said.

Earlier, United States President Donald Trump had said "severe" actions could be taken; the region is unstable some say it could be on the brink of war. Tensions are coming to a head at the economic summit.

Mr Turnbull spoke for the first time since the missile launch, and since China has been singled out as a major nation best set to pressure North Korea to stand down.

"The nation with the greatest leverage over North Korea is China," Mr Turnbull said.

"We recognise that North Korea is not a compliant client state of China like East Germany was to the old Soviet Union, so ... the relationship between China and North Korea is not without its

difficulties, but the fact is China has the greatest leverage and of course we urge China to bring more pressure, more economic pressure in particular, to bear on North Korea."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann categorically ruled out Australia imposing trade sanctions on China today.

"The position of the Australian government is very clear, we're not considering trade sanctions on China," he told ABC radio from Hamburg.

But the Minister said a response to North Korea's actions would be a key focus for global leaders during the summit.

"It's a very serious situation and the actions of North Korea are utterly unacceptable and they do warrant a very strong and cooperative response from the international community."

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has also said Australia has no plans for trade sanctions on China.

'WELCOME TO HELL'

Demonstrations at the G20 turned violence as German police clashed with a hard core of masked anti-capitalist activists hurling bottles and stones.

What should have been a peaceful march by around 12,000 people in Hamburg protesting against globalisation was halted as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 far-left militants.

AFP reported 76 police were hurt in the clashes, amid numerous arrests.

Police called with loudspeakers on protesters to remove their masks but this was ignored and after more objects were thrown, authorities decided to separate them from the other protesters, police said on Twitter.

"Unfortunately it has come to the first clashes. We are implementing corresponding measures," read another tweet.

Protesters were seen scrambling to leave the scene, while others defiantly stood in the way of water cannon trucks as they moved in surrounded by riot police with helmets and batons.

Police tweeted a photo of a car and flames and said shop windows were smashed.

The main "Welcome to Hell" march was then called off but thousands of people remained as night fell intending to march and riot police and demonstrators engaged in smaller skirmishes in the side streets of Germany's second city, AFP correspondents at the scene said.

Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting gathering Trump, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China starting on Friday.

There were 20,000 police on standby together with armoured vehicles, helicopters and surveillance drones. A holding centre for detainees has been set up in a former hardware store with space for 400 people.

Ugly scenes had already unfolded Tuesday night as riot police used water cannon and pepper spray to clear an unauthorised protest camp, leaving five people injured and driving fears of more trouble ahead.

'A COMBATIVE MESSAGE'

Major events like the G20 have in recent years usually been held in remote locations, but Germany was forced by its logistical demands to host it in a large city with a big venue and dozens of hotels.

Hamburg is desperate to avoid a re-run of the kind of major clashes seen at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa or the Frankfurt opening of the new European Central Bank building in 2015.

In Hamburg, some 30 demonstrations have been announced, organised by anti-globalisation activists and environmentalists, trade unions, students and church groups.

"Welcome to Hell" organiser Andreas Blechschmidt said the motto is "a combative message ... but it's also meant to symbolise that G20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster".

The city says it won't be taking any chances as it must protect leaders, some 10,000 delegates and almost 5,000 media workers from both the threat of terrorist attacks and the street protests.

The main focus of attention inside the G20 venue on the first day of the summit on Friday will be Trump's first face-to-face meeting with Putin.

Speaking in the Polish capital earlier on Thursday in front of 10,000 people, Trump didn't mince his words about Moscow.

"We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes - including Syria and Iran - and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself," he said.

Arriving in Hamburg later Thursday, Trump headed to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vowed to defend the 2015 Paris climate accord which the US leader has pledged to withdraw from.

Merkel said before meeting the US president that Trump was facing isolation within the G20 over the issue - one of several topics where the new US leader is likely to clash with his fellow leaders.

"We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord. Because there are also different opinions on some important questions," Merkel said.

Trump held a dinner with leaders of South Korea and Japan, focusing on North Korea's successfully test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this week.

In his first public remarks since the test, Trump said in Warsaw that Pyongyang's military sabre-rattling must bring "consequences" and warned he was considering a "severe" response to its "very, very bad behaviour"

News Corp Australia


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