UNITED STATES— President Trump initiated a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, June 1. The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, oil prices, international space cooperation, and the G7 summit.
The Group of Seven (G7) are an informal body of the largest IMF-advanced economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States). A summit is held annually to discuss issues of intergovernmental economics and security. President Trump announced on Saturday, May 30, that the June summit would be postponed due to the inability to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. He wants it to be held in September, in close proximity to the UN summit.
In the call, President Trump proposed expanding the G7 meeting by inviting Russia, Australia, India, and South Korea. He had also expressed this in the 2018 G7 summit, claiming Russia would be an “asset”. Russia was previously admitted into the G7, but evicted after its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Other non-G7 members have also attended the summit before.
“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump said to reporters. His aim, as expressed by The White House, is to bring together traditional allies to deal with China.
The United Kingdom and Canada immediately opposed Russia’s possible readmittance.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, stated: “[Russia’s] continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7 and why it will continue to remain out.”
The United States, as president of the G7, is allowed to invite additional countries to participate in the summit. However, permanent admittance would require the approval of all seven members.