Trump's opinion of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation changes, says no longer obsolete

Posted April 17, 2017

President Donald Trump had been "very consistent" in his support of NATO, despite his dramatic shift in rhetoric about the organization, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

Trump, who ran for the White House on a pledge to shake up the status quo in Washington, repeatedly lashed out at China during the campaign, accusing Beijing of being a "grand champion" of currency manipulation.

Reversing some of his campaign rhetoric, Trump told a joint news conference that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "is no longer obsolete" and hailed its role in the fight "against terrorism".

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the "bulwark of worldwide peace and security" but its European members "must pay what they owe", US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday alongside the political head of the military alliance. He also lavished praise on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, saying it was adapting to changing global threats. On Wednesday, however, the President declared the global alliance was "no longer obsolete", taking credit for what he said was the organization's greater focus on fighting terrorism.

Trump's outreach to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received a frosty reception in Moscow during a visit that initially was billed as a way to jump-start better relations between Russian Federation and the U.S. But the president's talk of "bonding" with Chinese President Xi Jinping could sow confusion in Asia, where USA allies are fearful of a rising China.

In the past the President had been hugely critical of the alliance, which has been in existence since 1949.

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"If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him", Trump said last September.

Tillerson's trip has been dominated by USA criticism of Russia's unwavering support for Syrian President Bashar Assad following a gruesome poison-gas attack in northern Syria last week blamed on Assad's forces.

Ahead of that visit, Trump had predicted "difficult" discussions on trade.

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