June 02, 2020 10:26
President Moon Jae-in has accepted an invitation by U.S. President Donald Trump to attend the G7 Summit in September.
Moon in a 15-minute telephone call with Trump on Monday said he would "gladly" accept the invitation, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Trump earlier complained about the G7, which he hosts this year. "I don't feel that... it properly represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries," and added, "We want Australia, we want India, we want Korea. That's a nice group of countries right there."
The original G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. besides the U.S.
Moon said, "I will gladly accept your invitation and Korea will play all possible roles in the areas of quarantine and the economy."
He added an expanded G7 could serve as a "milestone" in the post-coronavirus age as well as a "signal" that the world is returning to normal. He welcomed Trump's aim of including Australia, India and Russia was the "right" step.
Trump and Moon also discussed the prospect of inviting Brazil and turning the meeting to a G12 Summit. Moon said including Brazil would be "appropriate" considering the South American country's population, economic size and regional representation.
The White House has said the aim is to bring in traditional allies to discuss how to deal with future challenges posed by China. The move comes amid deteriorating relations between the two sides over the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak and the Hong Kong crisis after China approved a new national security law that threatens the city's semi-autonomous status.
There are fears that Moon too will find himself exposed to heavy U.S. pressure at the meeting to pick a side. In a policy meeting on Monday, Moon said, "Conflict between major countries amid intensifying nationalism is becoming a considerable burden on our economy."
Korea is trying to get Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Seoul later this year.
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