Trump and world leaders meet at G7 summit
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a $20 million emergency fund to help Amazon countries affected by the rainforest fires.
Speaking after a G7 climate session Monday, Macron said the fires are “two times the surface area of France.”
He said the wildfires are damaging the “most important lungs of the planet” and France will provide military support.
The president admitted his country’s interest in the Amazon is partly because it has territory in the Amazon.
Macron angered Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro last week by calling the wildfires blazing in the Amazon rainforest an "international crisis" that should be on the agenda at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Bolsonaro said the idea of G7 discussing the issue was "reminiscent of colonial mindset inappropriate in the 21st century."
Apart from the short term emergency funding, Macron also announced a longer term common initiative for the Amazon that will be discussed at the United Nations General Assembly.
President Donald Trump told reporters earlier: "China called, last night, our top trade people, and said, 'Let's get back to the table.'" Now Trump and his aides are declining to clarify the substance of those calls.
Asked in a meeting with India's prime minister about the calls that he described, Trump cited Chinese vice premier Liu He's comments earlier calling for "calm."
Pressed on the calls, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there has been 'communication' but wouldn't say between whom. Trump added the communication was "at the highest level" and quickly pivoted to touting the US economy.
Asked again directly, "Was there not actually a call last night?” Mnuchin said only: “There were discussions that went back and forth and let’s just leave it at that.”
The Chinese foreign ministry didn't mention the calls in a briefing Monday.
President Trump said again Monday he's available to mediate the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir, even as India's leader sitting alongside him said his help wasn't needed.
"The prime minister really feels that he has it under control," Trump said as India's Narendra Modi looked on. "I’m sure they will be able to do something very good."
Modi, asked if he was interested in Trump's help, said the issue was between India and Pakistan.
"These issues are bilateral," he said, adding: "We can find solutions to discussions."
Despite those comments, Trump insisted he was still available for mediation.
"I’m here," he said. "I have a very good relationship with both gentlemen."
President Trump has denied that he raised the prospect of disrupting hurricanes using nuclear weapons.
A report in Axios said Trump suggested the idea in hurricane briefings over the first two years of his presidency.
In a tweet on Monday, Trump dismissed the report as "fake news."
France's new digital tax is a hot topic at the G7 summit.
Starting January 2020, France will start charging a 3% tax on revenue earned by large internet companies in the country. American companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google will be impacted.
The Trump administration has staunchly opposed the move, and the president himself has even threatened to place tariffs on French wines and other French products in retaliation for the new levy.
On Monday, Trump said the US and France were getting closer to striking a deal on the issue.
The press department of the French finance ministry confirmed Monday that US and French negotiators have reached a compromise agreement, which will be submitted to Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron later on Monday.
The world's richest countries are currently working on an international digital tax proposal through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, some countries, including France and the UK, have argued the OECD plan is taking too long to draw up and announced they would impose their own interim tax until the global scheme is put in place.
The French finance ministry confirmed reports that the compromise would consist of France repaying to companies the difference between the French tax and the planned mechanism being drawn up by the OECD.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Monday said President Donald Trump’s desire to reinstate Russia in the G7 would depend on consensus within the group.
"Of course, returning to the Seven only at the invitation of one of the countries is impossible, because all decisions there are made by consensus,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
Peskov earlier reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position that Russia was not opposed to rejoining the group, but considered formats that include countries such as China and India to be more constructive.
President Trump confirmed reports that he is "possibly" looking at hosting the next G7 summit at his Trump National Doral Golf Resort in Miami.
Trump discussed the pros of hosting the G7 at his Miami-Dade resort, including its close proximity to the airport and infrastructure that he said could easily accommodate the large presence of global leaders, delegations and press.
Trump said his club could "handle whatever happens" and repeated several times that it is only a five-minute drive to the airport. He added that it was still being decided.
The Washington Post first reported in June that Trump was looking at hosting the next G7 at his Doral club.
President Donald Trump reiterated on Monday he would like to bring Russia back into the G7, but admitted that other leaders of the world's biggest economies disagreed with him.
Trump said he told his counterparts it would be advantageous to readmit Russia to the group. "There are people that agree with me 100%, but there are some that don't," Trump said. "We did have a discussion about Russia," he added.
Sitting next to him, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear her priority is to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine has been locked in a proxy war with Russia for five years, and the conflict has claimed around 13,000 lives in the country's east. Western powers imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014.
"I want the talks now between the Ukrainian President and the Russian President... I think we have to try and bring this forward in the next few months," Merkel said when asked about Russia.
"It's a big problem and we have enough problems in the world as it is, I think we ought to make progress on this one," she added.
President Donald Trump said the next G7 summit, which is scheduled to take place in the United States in 2020, is likely going to take place in Miami.
He said it will be "right next" to the Miami airport, avoiding the need to "drive for hours and hours and hours."
"We are thinking about it, they like the location, and it's Miami, it's a great area," Trump said.