US President Donald Trump said Saturday he will postpone a meeting of Group of 7 nations until fall and called for an expansion of the group's membership because he considers it an outdated group that doesn't properly represent what's taking place in the world.
The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Trump singled out India, Russia, Australia and South Korea as possible additions.
"I'm postponing it because I don't feel that as a G7 it properly represents what's going on in the world," Trump said.
It was unclear whether Trump's desire to invite the additional countries was an effort to permanently expand the G7. On several previous occasions, he suggested Russia be added given what he described as Moscow's global strategic importance.
There has been a buzz of a 'G7 + 3', with the United Kingdom too pushing for it largely with a view to overcome dependence of China for 5G technology after the Huawei controversy.
However, the discussion still appears to be at a very nascent stage.
The leaders of the world's major economies were slated to meet in the US this year, but the coronavirus outbreak has hobbled those plans. Previously, Trump had touted holding the G7 meeting in US, as a great example of reopening.
"The President wants to see this (G7) take place," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had told reporters during a news conference.
"As America reopens, as we try to approach a place of normalcy where people go back to work, where people do recreational activities but socially distant while they do it, the President thinks no greater example of reopening in this transition to greatness would be the G7, and G7 happening here and happening probably more towards the end of June," McEnany said.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused entertain the idea, as reports followed of her saying no to attending an in-person summit of G7 leaders that Trump has suggested he will host despite concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the Politico website quoted her spokesman as saying Friday.