Moon says he’d “gladly accept” Trump’s G7 invitation

Posted on : 2020-06-02 16:28 KST Modified on : 2020-06-02 16:29 KST
S. Korean president reportedly agrees with including Brazil in new G7 framework
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump talk on the phone on June 1. (provided by the Blue House)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump talk on the phone on June 1. (provided by the Blue House)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on June 1 that he would “gladly accept” US President Donald Trump’s invitation to the G7 summit.

Moon spoke with Trump by telephone for 15 minutes at the US president’s request that evening, Blue House Spokesperson Kang Min-seok said. Trump was quoted as calling the G7 an “old framework that does not reflect the current international situation” and asking for Moon’s thoughts on potentially “expanding it into a G11 or G12 system,” indicating his intention to include South Korea.

In response, Moon was quoted as thanking Trump and saying that he “welcome[s the US] extending an invitation to South Korea as host country for this year’s G7 summit.”

“I will gladly accept the invitation, and South Korea will do everything it can in the areas of both disease control and the economy,” he said.

Moon went on to note that the G7 framework “is limited in terms of its ability to respond and find solutions to global issues.”

“I support a transition in the G7 system, and I think it’s an appropriate measure for South Korea, Australia, India, and Russia to be invited to take part in G7,” he added.

On May 30, Trump indicated that he planned to invite South Korea, Russia, Australia, and India to attend the G7 summit scheduled for this fall in Washington. Some analysts have interpreted the move as an attempt to curb China, which is not a G7 member. Trump, who is facing an election this year, has been harshly critical of China, citing its Hong Kong security law and its role in the spread of the novel coronavirus. The prevailing view among observers is that the expansion of the G7 framework is also strongly influenced by the aim of isolating and reining in Beijing.

Moon was quoted as saying that this year’s G7 summit “will be an important milestone for the post-coronavirus world if it can be staged as an in-person expanded summit.”

“If it takes place successfully at an appropriate time, it will send the signal that the world is returning to a normal situation and economy,” he also said.

The two leaders also agreed on inviting Brazil. When asked by Trump about his views on including Brazil, Moon reportedly replied that it would be “appropriate to include [Brazil] in view of its population, economic scale, and regional representativeness.” Trump was quoted as replying that this was a “good idea” and that he would “work toward that.”

A Blue House senior official said the invitation would be “fundamentally helpful in enhancing South Korea’s stature.”

“This is basically something to welcome,” the official said. When asked whether it might pose a strain on relations with Beijing, the official said, “The agenda has not yet been set, and we won’t be having a meeting just to deal with China-related issues.”

The telephone conversation between the South Korean and US presidents that day was the first in the roughly 40 days since their Apr. 18 discussion on cooperation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Seong Yeon-cheol, staff reporter

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