US President Donald Trump on Saturday said that he would postpone a Group of Seven (G7) summit he wanted to hold in June until September or beyond to expand the list of invitees to include India, Australia, Russia and South Korea.
The US president announced his intention on board the Air force One on his return to Washington from Cape Canaveral in Florida, where he witnessed the historic first-ever crewed mission launch by a private firm, SpaceX. On this occasion, Trump said that the G7, whose member countries are the most well-developed economies of the world, was a “very outdated group of countries” in its present form.
“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” The US president was quoted as saying by western news agencies. Trump’s latest musings on G7 is however not yet a clear statement on whether he merely wants to invite more countries for the latest summit or it was aimed at permanently expanding the elite grouping.
Despite the frosty relations the US has with Russia, Donald Trump has been consistently insisting on the presence of Moscow in G7 citing its global strategic importance. However, going by what White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah further expanded on Trump’s statement, it looks like the US president is in the mood to exert pressure on China in the G7 summit. Farah said that “Trump wants the countries to discuss China at the summit.”
Trump has been vocal in his opposition to China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The US president has been targeting Beijing over the way it handled the situation pertaining to the dreaded virus, which began in China before it assumed the global pandemic proportions. Added to this was China’s recent initiation of ‘anti-democratic’ reforms for Hong Kong, which added fuel to the US displeasure.
On Friday, Trump ordered his administration to start the process of snapping United States’ special treatment for Hong Kong in a significant retaliation for China’s decision to impose a new security law, which is believed to be aimed at curbing Hong Kong’s free democratic rights.
The G7 comprises United States, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada. The European Union also take part in it as a special invitee. Besides Russia, Trump has also been batting for India’s presence in the elite grouping for multiple reasons. Besides India’s growth in the last two decades, Washington also sees New Delhi as the perfect foil for obvious strategic reasons of regional importance, especially with an eye on neutralizing China’s growing global dominance, more so in the Indo-Pacific region.