Donald Trump is to postpone a G7 meeting planned for next month and wants to expand the group to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.
The president said the G7, whose members are the world’s most advanced economies, was a “very outdated group of countries” in its current format.
Mr Trump said: “I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world.”
It was not clear whether Mr Trump’s desire to invite the additional countries was an effort to permanently expand the G7.
He has suggested Russia be included because of Moscow’s global strategic importance.
White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the president wants the countries to discuss China at the summit after he attacked Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday he ordered his administration to end special US treatment for Hong Kong after China’s decision to introduce a new security law on the former British colony.
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Postponing the G7 summit is a U-turn by Mr Trump who wanted to host the group of major industrialised countries in Washington to demonstrate that the US was returning to normal after the coronavirus epidemic, in which more than 103,000 Americans have died.
He cancelled a G7 meeting in March as the virus spread, but had recently sought to convene it.
French President Emmanuel Macron backed the idea of a meeting, according to the White House, but Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau declined to endorse it because he said there were too many health-related questions.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this week she would not be able to attend.
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The G7 is made up of the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Canada, and the European Union also attends.
Australia said it welcomed an official invitation to the Group of Seven (G7) nations and there has been contact on the matter between prime minister Scott Morrison and the US, a government spokesman said on Sunday.
The spokesman added: “The G7 has been a topic of recent high-level exchanges.
“Australia would welcome an official invitation. Strengthening international cooperation among like-minded countries is valued at a time of unprecedented global challenges.”
Source : Sky News