Done With Quebec G7 Summit, Trump Looks to Pyongyang
by: The Knowledge GroupJune 12, 2018
Donald Trump left the summit of G7 democracies in Quebec still threatening to wage a trade war against allies.
“If they retaliate,” Trump told reporters, Canada and others are “making a mistake.” Trump left the summit a few hours early, missing the climate change segments.
In a gathering of leaders to discuss trade on Friday, June 8, Trump reiterated claims that the United States is maltreated by its allies and used as “the piggy bank” that other countries, including allies, are robbing. That left Trump and other leaders talking past each other on trade, with Trump’s attention riveted on manufacturing.
Other leaders believe that focus is narrow, noting that in the international economy, the U.S. is largely a consumer of global goods.
Change in Pyongyang?
The media didn’t miss the contrast between the tone in Quebec, and the optimism in Trump’s comments about the forthcoming summit with Kim Jong-un, which could determine whether Pyongyang will agree to nuclear disarmament.
Trump said Kim enjoys the historic opportunity to pull North Korea out of isolation. The president has dropped the phrase “maximum pressure” and now, instead of threatening sanctions until Kim disarms, Trump seems willing to tolerate a freeze on North Korea’s current nuclear weaponry, with an implication that dismantling the arsenal should follow.
Return of Russia?
Trump’s desire that Russia be readmitted to the G7, four years after the country was pushed out because of its annexation of Crimea, did not go over well with most of the current leaders.
Giuseppe Conte, the new prime minister of Italy, agrees with Trump. Yet other European leaders sharply disagree. They note that Vladimir Putin continues to control the Crimean peninsula; they and Canada have vowed to undertake further sanctions against Russia.
Joint Communique Is Jettisoned
While the G7 summit did produce a joint communique on trade, signed by all G7 leaders and announced publicly by Canada’s prime minister, Trump later reversed it. Also noted in the European press: Trump skipped over Theresa May when naming the heads of nations allied with the United States.
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