Trump postpones G7 summit, seeks to add countries to invitation list
UNITED STATES: US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would postpone a Group of Seven (G7) summit he had hoped to hold next month until September or later and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One during his return to Washington from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Mr Trump said the G7, which groups the world's most advanced economies, was a "very outdated group of countries" in its current format.
"I'm postponing it because I don't feel that as a G7, it properly represents what's going on in the world," Mr Trump said.
It was unclear whether Mr Trump's desire to invite the additional countries was a bid to permanently expand the G7. On several previous occasions, he suggested Russia be added, given what he called Moscow's global strategic importance.
Russia was expelled from what was then the G8 in 2014 when Trump's predecessor, Mr Barack Obama, was US president, after Moscow annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine. Russia still holds the territory, and various G7 governments have rebuffed previous calls from Mr Trump to re-admit Moscow.
White House spokesman Alyssa Farah said Mr Trump wants the countries to discuss China at the summit.
Mr Trump has attacked Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and on Friday he ordered his administration to begin the process of ending special US treatment for Hong Kong in retaliation for China's decision to impose a new security law on the former British colony.
The decision to postpone the G7 summit is a retreat for Mr Trump, who had sought to host the group of major industrialised countries in Washington as a demonstration that the US was returning to normal after the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 103,000 Americans to date. - REUTERS