Trump Says Hasn't Discussed Joint G7 Message To Iran Over Nuke Programme

Marco Green
August 26, 2019

Trump's head-snapping comments at the Group of Seven summit about his escalating trade fight with China - first expressing regret, then amping up tariff threats - represented just the latest manifestation of the hazards of the president's go-it-alone mantra.

The G7 gathering is taking place against a backdrop of worries about a global economic downturn and coincides with an era of worldwide disunity across an array of issues.

But he insisted that "we're getting along well right now with China".

The mood between leaders at the annual get-together has repeatedly been described as tense, with a clear divide reported between Trump and the leaders of the other G7 countries - France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan.

On Friday Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports, and threatened to invoke a 1977 act authorizing the president emergency powers to force USA businesses out of China.

Britain's Johnson voiced concern on Saturday about creeping protectionism and said those who support tariffs "are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy".

Responding to Mr Tusk's comments, he said: "I don't want a no-deal Brexit but I say to our European Union friends, if they don't want no deal they have to get rid of the backstop from the treaty".

When asked by a second reporter if he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, Mr Trump responded: "Might as well". "No I haven't discussed that", the United States president told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. "President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher", Grisham said in a statement to reporters.

"This may be the last moment to restore our political community", Tusk told reporters on Saturday, giving a bleak assessment of Western relations.

Mr Tusk told reporters: "This is another G7 summit which will be a hard test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders".

However, senior USA officials accused Macron of looking "to fracture the G7" by focusing on "niche issues" rather than major global concerns.

Trump seemed pleased with the meeting, though.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif arrived in Biarritz on Sunday afternoon after being invited by France to the G-7 venue to try to ease tensions over its nuclear program, a senior French official said.

A landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Western powers and Iran all but collapsed after Trump unilaterally withdrew U.S. support past year, reimposing sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

Separately at the G7, the USA and Japan said they had agreed the bulk of a trade deal, covering agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade.

Trump has seen his poll numbers sag ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, as consumers sour on his aggressive trade stance against China.

Trump also appeared to speak disapprovingly of Theresa May, Johnson's predecessor, saying approvingly that the new prime minister is "a different person".

Prior to Sunday morning's breakfast, Trump denied reports that he faced tensions with the other G-7 nations, and blamed the media for wanting to cause a recession to hurt his chances at reelection.

"As shown by these meetings, we have been conducting very frequent exchange of opinions, as well as visits", Abe told reporters.

Launches of short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday were the seventh by North Korea since Trump and Kim met at the inter-Korean border in June. But he also echoed Trump's calls for Europe to do more to address the global slowdown, including by cutting taxes. Russian Federation was a member of what was then the Group of Eight, but was expelled by the majority of the other countries in 2014 over its invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to his decision to jack up tariffs, Trump said he was ordering US companies to find alternatives to doing business in China and move operations back to the United States.

Trump and Abe said they expect to sign the deal around meetings of the United Nations General Assembly next month in NY.

Macron described Trump as a "very special guest" and Trump fondly recalled the dinner they shared at the Eiffel Tower.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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