World

Isolated Trump heads to hostile G7 summit

By AAP Newswire

US President Donald Trump has charged into a summit of major industrialised nations for contentious trade talks, injecting fresh drama by calling for the reinstatement of Russia.

Trump made the comment at the White House on Friday after hours of further escalating his rhetoric against longtime allies over US trade practices.

"Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?" Trump asked. "They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."

Solidifying his solo status on the world stage, Trump also lashed out at longtime allies over their criticism of his trade policies. He arrived behind schedule and planned an early exit from the G7 meeting.

Russia was ousted from the elite group in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Trump saluted Canadian Mounties as he was greeted at an airport at a military base in Quebec. He arrived on Friday at the annual gathering, held this year at a picturesque Quebec resort, but will leave on Saturday morning before the event is over, heading to Singapore for his highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The White House announced his travel plans after French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled they would use the G7 event to take a stance against new US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

At a joint press conference on Thursday, Macron said: "A trade war doesn't spare anyone. It will start first of all to hurt US workers." Trudeau, for his part, said Trump's action would hurt American workers as well as Canadians, adding he hoped to get Trump to realise it was "counterproductive".

As tempers frayed, Trump had a ready retort, via tweet: "Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the US massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the US is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow."

Later on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the US and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy - hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!"

A few hours later, he added, "Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!"

Despite the drama, Trump and Trudeau had a cordial greeting on Friday, shaking hands and smiling for photographers on the lawn outside the resort overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

But the president appeared in no hurry to leave for Canada. He walked out of the White House more than half an hour late, spent time greeting supporters gathered on the South Lawn, and then proceeded to take questions from reporters for nearly 20 minutes. He weighed in on everything from the Russia investigating to protesting NFL players and his next pardons.

With a cool reception all but assured, Trump has complained to aides about even having to attend the G7, especially since his Singapore summit with Kim is just days away. He will leave early on Saturday morning, and will skip meetings about climate change, clean energy and ocean protection.