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(LEAD) Trump says he plans to invite S. Korea to G7 summit in September

Diplomacy 10:23 May 31, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with background from 7th para)
By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that he plans to invite South Korea to a Group of Seven summit in September.

South Korea is not a member of the G7, which comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States, but the country has drawn widespread praise from around the world for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't feel that as a G7 it properly represents what's going on in the world," he told reporters on Air Force One, according to a pool report. "It's a very outdated group of countries."

Trump said he also plans to invite Russia, Australia and India.

Trump, who previously suggested hosting the summit at Camp David in June, said the meeting will be postponed until September.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah added that the meeting will bring together traditional U.S. allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China, the pool report said.

This AFP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on May 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

Trump has publicly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 103,000 lives in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Tensions between the two countries have escalated as China has moved to crack down on civil liberties in Hong Kong. On Friday, Trump announced that his administration would begin to roll back privileges Hong Kong has enjoyed with Washington.

The Associated Press reported that Trump said he had not set a date for the G7 meeting, but that it could take place around the time of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York in September, or even after the U.S. presidential election in November.

Trump has spoken favorably of President Moon Jae-in, calling him "a friend of mine."

In recent weeks he has often claimed that Moon praised the U.S. for doing well on testing people for COVID-19. Trump has also liked to boast that the U.S. was conducting more tests than South Korea, where an aggressive testing regime was widely reported to have contained the disease.

Trump and Moon have worked together to engage North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in diplomatic talks over dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

The negotiations have all but stopped since a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February 2019 ended abruptly due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.


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