G7 ends in disarray as Trump insults Trudeau - Taipei Times
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 1 News List

G7 ends in disarray as Trump insults Trudeau

AFP, QUEBEC CITY

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with US President Donald Trump, seated, at the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Canada, on Saturday.

Photo: AP via the German Federal Government

The G7 summit ended in farce and a renewed threat of a global trade war as US President Donald Trump abruptly rejected the text of a consensus statement and bitterly insulted the Canadian host.

Just minutes after a joint communique on Saturday that had been approved by the G7 leaders was published in Canada’s summit host city, Quebec, Trump launched a Twitter broadside from aboard Air Force One.

The US leader left the meeting early, en route for Singapore and a historic nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, only to take exception to comments made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US Market!” Trump tweeted.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ... he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak.”

Earlier, Trudeau had told reporters that Trump’s decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was “kind of insulting” to Canadian veterans who had stood by their US allies in conflicts dating back to World War I.

“Canadians are polite and reasonable, but we will also not be pushed around,” he said.

Trudeau said he had told Trump “it would be with regret, but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.”

After Trump’s angry tweets, Trudeau’s office issued a brief response, saying: “We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The prime minister said nothing he hasn’t said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the president.”

The outburst against Trudeau, and by association the other G7 members, is only the latest incident in which Trump has clashed with the US’ closest allies, even as he has had warm words for autocrats like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office yesterday reacted by saying that “international cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks.”

Reneging on the commitments agreed in the communique showed “incoherence and inconsistency,” it said in a statement.

Shortly after Trump’s tweets, US Senator John McCain responded.

“To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t,” he tweeted.

When Trump left Quebec it was thought that a compromise had been reached, despite the tension and determination of European leaders Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to push back on Trump’s assault on the global trade system.

Trump claimed that tariffs were necessary because the US has been exploited as the world’s “piggy bank” under existing arrangements, but his counterparts were determined to protect “rules-based” international trade.

The joint communique that was thrashed out over two days of negotiations vowed that members would reform multilateral oversight through the WTO and seek to cut tariffs.

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