Germany, Japan, France, Britain and Canada should form a core group of nations to defend global institutions in response to US President Donald Trump's "lunatic decision" to cut funding to the World Health Organisation, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has suggested.
Mr Rudd penned a scathing editorial in The Economist slamming the roles the US and China have played in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
He suggested the bloc of countries, which could also include Singapore and the European Union, be dubbed the M7 and "become the thin blue line that, for the interim at least, protects us against an increasingly anarchic world".
Mr Rudd did not include Australia.
"They could start by issuing an immediate joint statement that together they will now fill the funding gap left by the lunatic decision by Mr Trump to axe America's financial contributions to the WHO," Mr Rudd wrote.
The M7, "given that Sino-American relations are beyond the control of any of us," would form a core group of constructive powers to reform, fund and politically defend WHO, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agricultural Organisation, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and WTO, he said.
Mr Rudd said Mr Trump's "America First battle-cry" in effect abandoned the country's global leadership role for the first time since 1945 while China "will continue exploiting tactically any political vacuum left by the Americans".
Mr Trump announced on Tuesday his administration would stop funding the WHO.
The president claimed WHO favoured China and has parroted Chinese assurances about how the virus spread.
The president also said the WHO opposed his decision to restrict travel from China to the US.
Australian Associated Press