Trump Postpones G-7 Summit, Seeks to Add Countries to Invitation List

May 31, 2020 Updated: May 31, 2020

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE—President Donald Trump said he’s postponing a Group of Seven summit he had hoped to hold next month until September or later and wants to 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from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Trump said the G-7, which groups the world’s most advanced economies, was a “very outdated group of countries” in its current format.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 G-7, it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said.

Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy
President Donald Trump, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), speaks with reporters while being flown to Andrews Air Force Base in flight on May 30, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

Most European countries offered no immediate comment on the proposal, with a spokesman for the German government saying Berlin was “waiting for further information”.

It’s unclear whether Trump’s desire to invite the additional countries was a bid to permanently expand the G-7. 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 G-8 in 2014 when Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was president, after Moscow annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine. Russia still holds the territory, and various G-7 governments have rebuffed previous calls from Trump to readmit Moscow.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said Trump wants the countries to discuss China at the summit.

Trump has criticized Beijing over its handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, which began in China, and on May 29, he ordered his administration to begin the process of ending special U.S. treatment for Hong Kong in retaliation for the CCP’s decision to impose a new security law on the former British colony.

Trump had canceled an in-person G-7 meeting scheduled for March as the virus spread, but had recently sought to revive it.

French President Emmanuel Macron backed the idea of an in-person meeting, according to the White House. But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to endorse it, saying there were too many health-related questions. This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she couldn’t attend.

South Korea is aware of Trump’s invitation and will discuss the matter with the United States, a government official in Seoul told Reuters on May 30.

The G-7 groups the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Canada; the European Union also attends.

By Steve Holland