Thursday, 27 April, 2017

Trump reverses position, says NATO is 'no longer obsolete'

McCain blasts Russia over spreading influence in Balkans Montenegro's NATO membership important for keeping Russia at bay – McCain
Hilda Schwartz | 13 April, 2017, 02:24

Meeting Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, Mr Trump said the threat of terrorism had underlined the alliance's importance.

Trump said Wednesday he'd changed views after NATO's leaders assured him the group would turn its attention to combating groups like ISIS going forward.

Trump's evolution was likely impacted by his decision last week to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the Syrian government, a move that prompted backlash from Moscow, according to a USA officials who briefed reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity. In March 2016 he said NATA "was set up in a different time" and that the USA should rethink its commitment to the alliance because it was too expensive. "It is important for Russian Federation to show its seriousness about cooperating with us".

He went on to say that relations between the two countries "may be at all time low".

He was a frequent critic of USA taking action in Syria, but launched missiles at the country last week in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons against citizens, including children. Russia, which has backed Syria in that country's six-year civil war, called the missile strike a violation of global law and pledged to retaliate for further attacks.

As a candidate Trump complained repeatedly about fellow member states not paying their fair share.

"I'll be speaking with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a little while", Trump said. "Right now the world is a mess".

South Korean supporters of arrested ex-president to protest
Prosecutors can detain Park for up to 20 days, during which time they are expected to formally charge her. They include Park confidante Choi Soon-sil, Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and some top government officials.

"I think he means well and wants to help; we will see whether he does".

After calling China a "currency manipulator" throughout his campaign and promising to label the country as such, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he will not place that label on China. He floated the idea of easing sanctions imposed on the country for its incursions into Ukraine.

The Senate backed Montenegro's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation last month, a message that the USA will push back against Russian efforts to increase its influence in Europe.

"We need many different tools to stabilize our neighborhood", Stoltenberg said last month. No. 1, it was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago.

But White House aides said Mr. Trump fully supports the alliance.

Trump said, "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late".

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