China on Tuesday strongly reacted to US President Donald Trump’s plans to invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to G7 summit, saying that any attempts to draw a “small circle” against Beijing will be “doomed to fail and become unpopular”.

The G7 group of major advanced countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — hold annual meetings to discuss issues of global governance, including climate change, security, international economic coordination and monetary issues.

Their work is now more important as they struggle to repair coronavirus-inflicted damage.

Asked for his reaction about Trump’s plans to invite India and three other nations to G7 summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media that “China believes all international organisations and conferences should be conducive to mutual trust between countries to upholding multilateralism, promoting world peace and development”.

“We believe this is the role of the overwhelming majority of the countries in the world. Any attempts to seek a small circle against China is doomed to fail and is unpopular,” he said.

US President Donald Trump had said on Saturday that he will delay the G7 summit scheduled to take place in June to September and invite other countries, including India and Russia to join the meeting. The other counties he wanted to invite are South Korea and Australia.

Trump expressed his desire to expand the “outdated” bloc to G10 or G11.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters on board Air Force One while travelling from Florida to Washington DC.

Trump’s invitation to India and three other nations, especially at a time when he is seeking to isolate Beijing seems part of his strategy. He came up with many measures including withdrawing the special status to Hong Kong in response to new Chinese security law for the former British colony, putting curbs on the Chinese students above undergraduate level, pulling the US out of the World Health Organisation pointing to its links to China.

The US administration is also aggressively pushing for decoupling China from global supply chains which could hurt the world’s second-largest economy in the long run.

The US and China had a war of words over the coronavirus pandemic, with Trump accusing Beijing of not divulging timely information about the disease and demanding a probe into the origins of the virus. However, China has rejected all allegations of America regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

While the US is the current annual president of G7 countries. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, there were talks of the summit being held virtually. However, Trump had been suggesting that it be held in person.

It is a general trend that during the summit, the G7 president normally invites heads of states of one or two countries to attend the meeting as a special invitee.

Earlier, French President Emanuel Macron had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G7 Summit in 2019. Prime Minister Modi attended the G7 meeting in the French town of Biarritz in August last.

Russia which has emerged as a close strategic ally of China, also being on the list of Trump for invitation to G7 summit  is regarded as a source of concern for China as Beijing had built up close relations with Moscow ever since it was expelled from what was previously known as G8 in 2014 by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, following Russia’s takeover of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Moscow has shown its interest in accepting the invitation to attend the G7 meet, according to Reports from Russia.

“President Putin is a supporter of dialogue in all directions, but in this case, in order to respond to such initiatives, we need to receive more information, which we unfortunately do not have,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying China’s state-run CGTN.

“We don”t know the details of this proposal yet, we don”t know if it is official,” he said, adding that Moscow needed to know what might be on the agenda of the proposed meeting and its format, before responding.

The UK and Canada have opposed Russia’s return to the G7, deepening a rift over President Trump’s wish for the country to re-join, the BBC reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday had held a telephonic conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump at the initiative of the US side, discussing issues related to the Group of Seven (G7) Summit and oil markets, according to the Kremlin.

Kremlin said in a statement, “Trump informed Putin about his idea of holding a G7 summit with the possible invitation of the leaders of Russia, Australia, India and South Korea”.

The White House said making “progress toward convening the G7” with Russia was among the topics the leaders discussed in a phone call, according to reports.