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Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face to face Summit of leaders of the G7 nations in June and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to combating China to which Vladimir Putin would be invited.
Trump revealed on Saturday he had cancelled the June G7 meeting after Angela Merkel the German chancellor told him in a phone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Normally hundreds of journalists and officials attend the two day summits, as well as security staff. He had billed the face to face summit as a symbol of America “transitioning back to greatness”.
Reports suggest the call between Merkel and Trump on Thursday was stormy ranging over German plans for Nord Stream gas pipeline, Hong Kong and the medical risks in holding a face to face G7.
Trump’s new plan, outlined to reporters on Saturday, is to host an expanded meeting G7 including Russia, Australia, Korea and India dedicated to building an alliance against China. The plan is likely to be as controversial since Russia has been banned from western-led summits following Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and is not seen as a natural ally in the fight to defend human rights in Hong Kong.
Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron will also be reluctant to provide Trump with a prestigious platform, weeks ahead of the US Presidential election, to set out his China strategy. The Republicans see a tough approach to China as an election winning formula, even though his likely Democrat challenger Joe Biden is also sharply critical of the modern direction of China.