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Harper in the Netherlands for nuclear summit

Stephen Harper met briefly Tuesday with a variety of world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit, an event that was largely overshadowed by the crisis in eastern Europe.

The prime minister and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, both G7 leaders, discussed trade and touched on the group’s actions against Russia in retaliation of its annexation of Crimea last week. Japan is Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral merchandise trade exceeding $24 billion in 2013.

Before the biennial meeting — focused on ensuring the world’s nuclear materials are kept out of the hands of terrorists — wrapped up Tuesday, Harper also chatted briefly with President Xi Jinping of China.

During his conversation with the Chinese leader, Harper expressed personal condolences for the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which the Malaysian government says crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

About two-thirds of the plane’s passengers were from China.

The two also discussed Gov. Gen. David Johnston’s recent state visit to China and the possibility of Harper going to China later this year.

Harper also met with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. Their discussion focused mostly on trade.

The prime minister’s appearance at the nuclear summit came the day after G7 leaders announced they had essentially booted Russia out of the G8 as a consequence for its aggression in eastern Europe.

There were 53 world leaders in this pristine European capital, a place punctuated by picturesque canals, ponds and a deer sanctuary. Young bucks could be seen playfully bashing antlers as commuters sped by on bicycles.

Helicopters frequently buzzed overhead throughout the two days of the summit, especially when U.S. President Barack Obama was arriving or leaving the site.

Obama, Harper and the rest of the leaders gathered Tuesday for what’s colloquially known as the family photo. Throughout the shoot, Harper chatted amiably with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The prime minister’s next stop is Germany, where he’ll spend two days in Munich and Berlin, and will meet with Merkel to further discuss the crisis in Ukraine. As the two most senior members of the G7, Harper and Merkel have a close relationship.