China on Tuesday hit out at United States President Donald Trump for inviting India, Australia, South Korea and Russia to the G7 summit, and said that the attempt to form a group against Beijing would prove to be an unpopular move. The remark came amid escalating tensions between China and US over the coronavirus pandemic.
“China believes all international organisations and conferences should be conducive to mutual trust between countries to upholding multilateralism, promoting world peace and development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference. “Seeking a clique targeting China is not a popular move, and it doesn’t serve the interests of countries concerned.”
The G7 grouping comprises of the US, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan. The European Union is the eighth member but it does not have the right to host or chair a summit. This year’s summit, scheduled to be held in the US, has been postponed till September.
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Trump had said last month that he would like to expand the “outdated” bloc to G10 or G11 and include India, Russia, South Korea and Australia. On Tuesday, Trump invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G7 summit in the US and also discussed India’s escalating border tensions with China.
The EU, in response to Trump’s proposal to expand the grouping, said that G7 was a vital multilateral framework that cannot be changed on a permanent basis by the chair of the group, currently the United States. “While it is the prerogative of the G7 chair – in this case the United States – to issue guest invitations, which reflects the host’s priorities, changing membership or format on a permanent basis is not,” EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell said, according to Reuters.
The US president has repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak. Trump has also accused the World Health Organization of helping China cover up the extent of the pandemic in its early days and said that he would terminate his country’s relationship with the global health body. In retaliation, China called US a “habitual quitter” and said that its withdrawal from WHO revealed a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.