US President Donald Trump has announced that he would postpone the Group of Seven summit that he wanted to hold in late June and expand the list of countries invited 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One during his return to Washington from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Trump said the G7 in its current format is a “very outdated group of countries”.
“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said.
The decision is a dramatic pivot for Trump, who had sought to host the group of major industrialised countries in Washington as a demonstration that the United States was returning to normal after the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 103,000 Americans to date.
The G7 is made up of the US, Italy, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, as well as the European Union.
Earlier, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she has declined Trump’s invitation to attend the G7 summit in person, while the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who hosted the 2018 summit, had also said that any in-person gathering would have to prioritise safety, while a French presidential official said President Emmanuel Macron, last year’s host, was “willing to go to Camp David if the health conditions allow”.
European Council head Charles Michel, meanwhile, said through a spokesman that he would attend “if health conditions allow”.