BIARRITZ, France – President Donald Trump said Sunday's world leader meeting this weekend "is going very well" and criticized the media for suggesting that there were tensions between him and the group of allies that he threatened with tariffs.
Trump arrived at the summit on Saturday amid an escalating trade war with China, threatening to start a new one with Europe.
But the president has struck a softer tone since landing in France.
"So far this has been a really good G-7," he said during a media appearance.
Speakers with reporters during a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson even suggested that he had second thoughts about his latest customs round on Chinese goods. [1
Trump also said he has no plans right now to explain a national emergency against China, something he claimed he could do to force US companies to stop doing business in China.
However, he reiterated that "in many ways it is an emergency."
Trump had dinner on Saturday night with leaders attending the Group of Seven Summit and holding a series of one-on-one meetings on Sunday.
Previous meetings between the nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – have been very tense.
At last year's gathering, Trump threatened to end trade with all of the member states, showed up late for breakfast, skipped a climate change meeting, and withdrew his support for a joint statement at the end of the summit. He then took to Twitter to base Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he ran for a meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
Before the peak of the year, Trump revived his attacks on Europe, accusing the countries there of "killing us in trade" during a campaign rally. He threatened a duty on French wine and called the Prime Minister of Denmark "nasty" for having rejected his proposal to buy Greenland.
But since he arrived, Trump has been trying to paint a picture of unity, blaming the media for suggesting there would be tension during this year's gathering.
"We have very good meetings," Trump tweeted early Sunday.
"The leaders are doing very well, and our country, economically speaking, is doing well – the world's talk." Well, we have very good meetings, the leaders are very good, and our country, financially, is doing well – the world's talk!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2019
He said later that his lunch Saturday with France's President Emmanuel Macron was the best and a half hours he spent with the leader. "It was a perfect time," he added.
But while Trump was trying to play unity between the leaders, some cracks occurred.  The president told reporters that the leaders had a "lively discussion" about whether Russia should be allowed back to the group, saying it was "certainly possible" that they would invite Russia next year when the United States hosts.
"I think it's an ongoing year bait, we have a number of people who would like to see Russia back, "Trump said during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"I think it would be positive, that's something we're discussing." Trump said some leaders agreed with him, but declined to say who.
Some daylight appeared between Abe and Trump on the issue of North Korea.
Asked by a reporter about Pyongyang's resurrection of the latest missile tests, Trump said he was "not happy" but that North Korea did not break a deal.
Trump then turned to Abe, who disagreed, saying it was a clear violation of UN resolutions. Although Trump would not go that far, he insisted that both leaders were in line.
In his first meeting with Johnson as British Prime Minister, Trump said that his new counterpart was "the right man for the job" and that he believes he can get a trade deal with Britain quickly.
"We are working on a very large trade transaction and I think it will work," Trump said.
Johnson joked that Trump was "on the message" and praised the president for the US financial performance, but he offered a single precautionary interest in the matter that has become very high during the summit.
"Just to record a weak sheep-like note of our view of the trade war," he said. "We are for trade peace."