Donald Trump has vowed to deal with ‘unfair trade’ and made a shock call by asking world leaders to bring Russia to G7.
Trump was the last of the leaders to arrive in Canada for the two-day G7 summit, and tomorrow he will probably be the first to leave, in a hurry to move on to his nuclear summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
The G7 summit has already garnered a lot of media attention with the battlelines drawn even before Trump arrived. The battlelines were drawn in the form of tweets and statements between Trump and his former friend President Emmanuel Macron of France over Washington’s imposition of tariffs on imports from US allies.
Trump caused more eyebrows to be raised by telling reporters that he wanted Russia-which was expelled from the group of the world’s most industrialised nations after annexing Crimea-to be brought back into the fold.
“They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he said before boarding Air Force One.
With unmistakable symbolism, the fractious Western democracies were meeting on the same day that China’s President Xi Jinping welcomed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to Beijing and awarded him a friendship medal.
Three decades after the end of the Cold War, the G7 nations are split over trade, climate and multilateral engagements such as the Iran nuclear deal, and the US president seems more at home with autocrats than with Washington’s traditional allies.
The “America First” President’s broadsides before leaving Washington reinforced predictions that the G7 summit in Quebec might be the first such get-together to end without an agreed joint statement.
“All of these countries have been taking advantage of the United States on trade,” he said before flying out. “We have massive trade deficits with almost every country. We will straighten that out. And I’ll tell you what, it’s what I do.
“It won’t even be hard and in the end, we’ll all get along.” Host Canada and its European allies are striving to put together a united front to oppose Trump’s opposition of tariffs of aluminium, steel, cars and other exports, but the markets are rattled.
Even Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who had tried to forge friendships with the unpredictable US leader, made it clear that they would prefer no consensus to a climb down on trade.