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Putin: Ready to meet Trump on arms race, rejoin G8

June 10 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday he wants to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump over the concerns of a new arms race and supports another suggestion by Trump to return to the G8.

Putin’s comments come as Trump’s relations erode with key allies, including lashing out Saturday at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who expressed opposition to Trump’s trade policies at the conclusion of the summit in Canada.

Trump and Putin are in an opposite situation.

“I agree with him, and to have a meaningful discussion, our ministries of foreign affairs and experts should get involved and work closely together, and of course a meeting in person is necessary,” Putin said to reporters at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao, China.

In April, the White House confirmed the two leaders spoke in a phone call about meeting at the White House “in the ‘not-too-distant-future.”

“As soon as the US side is ready, this meeting shall take place, of course, fitting my working schedule. We did not discuss a specific location but many countries offer their support, including Austria,” Putin said.

Russian and Putin have met at a formal bilateral meeting in Germany and on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Vietnam.

But both nations have touted their nuclear supremacy.

A Russian concept video shows nuclear warheads apparently reach Florida.

And Trump frequently boasts of his country’s nuclear capabilities, warning in April that Russia that it should “get ready” for a U.S. missile strike on Syria. Russia backs President Bashar al-Assad and had threatened to shoot down any U.S. missiles fired at the country.

Putin also spoke of the industrialized nations, which was the G8 with Russia until it was suspended from the group in 2014 when it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

“As for Russia’s return to the G7, or G8: we did not leave it. Our counterparts refused to go to Russia for well-known reasons. However, we will be glad to see everyone in Moscow,” Putin said to reporters.

Trump has suggested that Russian should return to the global group, saying at a news conference Saturday in La Baie, Quebec, Canada: “I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in.”

Trump said he would not endorse a G7 communique after Trudeau informed president that Canadians “will not be pushed around on trade matters.”

He told Trump that Canadians “who stood shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in far-off lands” do not take lightly the idea that the tariffs are for national security reasons.

“It’s kind of insulting,” Trudeau said.

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

The president’s move to reject the communique contradicted a statement from Trudeau earlier, in which the prime minister announced “we have released a joint communique by all seven countries.”

On Sunday, Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Trudeau of undermining the United Sttes and its allies with comments at the G7 summit.

“It was a betrayal,” Kudlow said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Also, Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, criticized Trudeau on Fox News Sunday.
“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door,” Navarro said. “And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One.”

On Saturday, U.S. John McCain, R-Ariz, posted on Twitter: “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.”

Earlier Saturday, the German government posted on Twitter a photo that shows the leaders and aides. German Chancellor Merkel looks to be in a tense situation with Trump.

Zweiter Tag des #G7-Gipfels in Kanada: Beratungen am Rande der offiziellen Tagesordnung #G7Charlevoix pic.twitter.com/5GiGF6zTHr- Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) June 9, 2018

Putin said said not to overestimate disagreements within the G7 should not be overestimated.

“It is nothing unusual and should be taken calmly, without irony,” he said.

“Things happen,” Putin added. “If we take the EAEU [the Eurasian Economic Community], we also have debates and it is not so that everyone signs everything right away.”

Putin said as far as purchasing power parity, SCO member states have surpassed G7 countries.

“If we calculate… per capita, the seven countries are wealthier, but the size of the SCO economies [combined] is larger. And the population is of course much bigger – half of the planet,” Putin said.

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