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Asia Minute: G-7 Expanding in Asia Pacific?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
President Donald Trump

Developments related to the coronavirus and to protests after the death of George Floyd have dominated recent news. But there have been other developments this week—including an organizational idea from President Trump: expanding the Group of Seven nations to include a broader piece of the Asia Pacific.

For years, the economic confederation was known as the G-7 — sometimes called the Group of Seven Industrialized nations. The G-7 first came together back in the 1970’s — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom as well as Japan.

For a time, it was the G-8, after Russia joined in 1998 — until it was disinvited after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The United States was scheduled to host the G-7 leaders’ summit this month, before it was postponed.

This week, President Trump called the G-7 “a very outdated group of countries” and suggested it could be expanded to include, in alphabetical order, Australia, India, Russia and South Korea.

As host of the G-7, President Trump can invite other countries to the meeting, but any permanent expansion of the group needs agreement from other members. The leaders of Canada, France and the UK have already objected to Russia being invited.

The prime ministers of Australia, India and South Korea have already accepted invitations to a meeting later this year — each leader received a phone call from the US President.

China is not invited, and a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “Any attempts to seek a small circle against China is doomed to fail.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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