Seoul to discuss G7 summit with US after Trump indicates invitation
(Update 1 adds Seoul reaction in par 4, new lede and headline, minor edits throughout)
Seoul/Washington DC, May 31 (efe-epa).- Seoul will discuss with Washington its possible attendance of the Group of Seven leaders’ summit after the president of the United States announced that he was postponing the meeting of the “outdated” group and that he would like to see more countries such as South Korea added.
“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It is a very outdated group of countries,” Donald Trump told reporters traveling with him aboard Air Force One from Florida back to Washington DC on Saturday.
Trump said that he would like to see more countries within the group – made up of the US, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Germany – and wanted to invite Australia, Russia, South Korea and India to the meeting, and that it could be a G11 or a G10.
“That’s what we will discuss with the US side,” an official from the presidential office told reporters Sunday, according to Yonhap news agency, adding that the government has “not been notified of the request in advance.”
The G7 leaders’ meeting, which the US is to host this year as it occupies the rotating presidency of the group, was scheduled from June 10 to 12.
Trump announced in April the cancellation of the in-person summit due to the rapid expansion and severity of the coronavirus pandemic, and said it would take place virtually.
As an alternative date, Trump on Saturday said that the summit could be held over the weekend just before or after the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to start on Sep.15, or after the US presidential election in November.
Earlier in the week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump planned to hold the G7 summit in person at the White House at the end of June.
“The president thinks no greater example of reopening in his transition to greatness would be the G7 and the G7 happening here,” McEnany told reporters.
Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, on Saturday said that Trump wants to discuss China at the summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week said she will not attend a face-to-face meeting in the US unless the course of the coronavirus spread changed.
The United States has exceeded 103,000 deaths and has more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the independent count Saturday from Johns Hopkins University. EFE-EPA