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Australian PM accepts G-7 invitation during call with Trump
[SYDNEY] Australia will accept an invitation to attend a Group of Seven (G-7) nations meeting, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Mr Trump said last week he will postpone a G-7 summit he had hoped to hold next month until September or later and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.
Making the invitation directly, Mr Trump called Mr Morrison on Tuesday and the offer was accepted, a spokesperson for the Australian prime minister said.
"The prime minister said he was once again pleased to take up the invitation to attend the G-7, as he had done last year, when invited to do so by President Macron, in France," the spokesperson for Mr Morrison said in an emailed statement.
Mr Morrison has been one of few world leaders to pay a state visit to Washington during Mr Trump's tenure, and both leaders have openly signalled their camaraderie.
Mr Morrison, unlike some European leaders, has avoided criticising Mr Trump publicly and has teamed up with the United States in its tougher stance against China, Australia's main trading partner.
Relations between Canberra and Beijing have been strained amid Australian accusations of Chinese meddling in domestic affairs and concern about what Australia sees as China's growing influence in the Pacific region.
While Australia's presence at the next G-7 meeting appears unopposed, Mr Trump's suggestion that Russia be invited has been rejected by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Still, Mr Trump spoke to Mr Putin on Monday and informed him about his plans to hold an expanded G-7 meeting later this year, the Kremlin said on Monday.