US President Donald Trump (AP-Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump said Monday that he wants to host a Group of Seven summit after the presidential election in November, not in September as previously planned.
South Korea has paid keen attention to the upcoming G7 meeting since Trump said in May that he will invite the country, along with Australia, India and Russia, to join the forum.
"I'm much more inclined to do it sometime after the election," Trump said during a White House press briefing.
"We were going to do it in September. They'd like to do it. We could do it through teleconference or we could do it through a meeting, but I sort of am now suggesting ... why don't we do it sometime after the election when things are a little bit, you have a little more time to think about it, because it's very important. The G7's very important," he said.
Trump said again that the US, as this year's chair of the G7, will invite "certain people" that are not part of the group. The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States.
"Some people have already accepted, but we're going to be doing it after the election," he said. "I think it's a better atmosphere to have a G7 -- I think it's a lot, I think it's just a better, calmer atmosphere to have a G7."
South Korea has been eager to join the world's most advanced economies, especially in the wake of its widely praised response to the coronavirus pandemic.
G7 members such as Japan and Germany have expressed opposition to expanding the group, although German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said earlier Monday that his country welcomes South Korea's participation in the summit meeting, not Russia's.
Asked if he will invite Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said he does not know, but that he certainly would because he thinks Putin is an "important factor."
Trump also repeated the claim that if he wins reelection, Iran will "make a deal" with the US soon after.
"But their greatest dream in the world is that Joe Biden wins because they will own this country," he said, referring to his Democratic rival. "China will own this country. North Korea will own this country. They will own our country. And they're all waiting to see the election."
Trump said Friday that he will make deals with Iran and North Korea "very quickly" if reelected. In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, he said Iran, China and North Korea would sit down for talks with the US if the election were not months away.
Trump has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times to try and reach a deal on dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions, but the effort has produced little result. (Yonhap)