AN earthquake has struck near Buenos Aries as the leaders of the world descend on the Argentinian capital for the G20 summit.
The 3.8-magnitude tremor hit 20 miles south of the city where a number of those at the event reported seeing “the chandeliers sway slightly”.
Reporter Steve Herman took to Twitter saying: “I was sitting next to @GalloVOA in the @WhiteHouse press filing centre here in Buenos Aires and we heard this rumble and saw the chandeliers sway slightly.
I assured him that as a veteran of many seismic events this was not an #earthquake. Wrong.”
The quake hit at 10.27am local time according to the country’s seismology centre.
Argentina’s branch of the Red Cross tweeted out that no one had been reported injured in the earthquake.
The US Geological Survey website indicates that the earthquake hit at approximately 1.27pm GMT, and had a depth of 10km.
Earlier a giant blimp portraying President Donald Trump as a nappy-wearing baby stole the show as the world’s most powerful leaders arrived in Argentina for the start of the G20 summit.
The huge balloon floated over the capital city of Buenos Aires ahead of two days of talks already overshadowed by trade wars, the Ukraine crisis and the brutal murder of a Saudi journalist.
Massive protests are expected throughout today and more than 22,000 armed police and soldiers will be on duty.
The Trump balloon – which depicts him as a crying baby holding a cellphone – became infamous earlier this year when a version of it was flown in London to protest his visit to the UK.
It has since made appearances at protests in Florida, outside the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and in Washington state near a venue where Vice President Pence was giving a speech.
The two-day summit – which begins later today – is supposed to focus on development, infrastructure and food security but bitter in-fighting is expected to lead to some explosive talks.
Trump himself put on a brave face as he touched down in Argentina with First Lady Melania Trump late last night.
The under-fire president is reported to be in no mood for the talks after facing mounting pressure on both domestic and diplomatic fronts.
His trip south came hours after his former attorney Michael Cohen admitted to lying over his business talks with Russia during the 2016 campaign and after Trump dramatically cancelled a meeting with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis.
However, one man who seemed well up for the summit was French President Emmanuel Macron who was keen to emphasise the real importance of G20.
“I believe in our capacity to make the spirit of dialogue and cooperation triumph,” Macron said warning if nations “close down,” the alternative could be trade wars or armed conflict.
Macron then called for international involvement and “complete clarity” in investigations into the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
He also said European leaders should discuss the killing – inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul – at a meeting due to be held this afternoon.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri insisted the matter of the killing would be “on the table” during bilateral and possibly broader meetings.
Saudia Arabia has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who is also at the summit – played any role in Khashoggi’s gruesome slaying.
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia over the incident is also in attendance.
The Kremlin earlier said it had not been notified about Trump’s cancelling of the meeting and only learned about it from his tweet.
It said it believed the cancellation was down to US “domestic” issues rather than the ongoing Ukraine situation.
Russian news agencies quoted Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the cancellation means that Putin will have “a couple more hours” for “useful meetings” with other G20 leaders.
Trump was still scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but analysts were not optimistic about prospects for a major breakthrough on the two countries’ trade disputes a month before US tariffs on Chinese goods are set to ramp up.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said that while China was interested in striking a deal, “I don’t know if I want to do it” and “I like the deal we have now”.
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Zhuang said he was hopeful.
“We hope the US can show sincerity and meet China halfway, to promote a proposal that both countries can accept,” he said, quoted by Reuters.
Macron later criticised protectionist stances by the US President but said they have no plans for a one-on-one at the summit.
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The two have increasingly clashed in recent weeks on everything from Trump’s nationalism to wine tariffs.
Other European leaders at the summit are facing domestic struggles of their own.
Theresa May is fighting for political survival as she tries to pull her country out of the European Union.
Germany’s Angela Merkel is preparing to leave politics after announcing last month she would give up leadership of her party, a post she has held since 2000.
Italy’s Giuseppe Conte heads a populist coalition that is clashing with the EU and suffers internal divisions.
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