WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump held a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday afternoon, vowing to work together.
“In the coming months and years, I will work closely with all of our NATO allies to enhance this partnership and to adapt to the challenges of the future, of which there will be many,” Trump said.
The president said the United States will urge NATO to focus on today’s most pressing security challenges, including “migration and terrorism.”
Trump also praised NATO for condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
“That’s a butcher, that’s a butcher,” he said of Assad. “I think we had to do something about it. I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing.”
The president went on to stress that NATO members need to meet their financial obligations.
“The Secretary General and I agree that member nations must satisfy their responsibility to contribute 2 percent of GDB to defense,” he said. “If other countries pay their fair share instead of relying on the United States, we will all be much more secure, and our partnership much stronger.”
[graphiq id=”f3X4JraM8Fn” title=”NATO Military Expenditures as Percent of GDP in 2016″ width=”600″ height=”827″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/f3X4JraM8Fn” ]
Trump also touched on a number of international issues, including his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said he believes China wants to do the right thing and help deal with the threat of North Korea.
“I said, ‘The way you’re going to make a good trade deal is to help us with North Korea. Otherwise, we’re just going to go at it alone,'” he said. “That’ll be alright too, but going at it alone means going at it with lots of other nations.”
Trump and Stoltenberg also answered a number of questions about Russia, with the president saying the relationship between the two nations “may be at an all-time low.”
Stoltenberg added the “most important thing is to have a strong alliance,” but that alliance must find a way to engage and talk with Russia.
“Russia will not go away. Russia will be our biggest neighbor,” he said. “And we have to find ways to live with them and try to avoid a new Cold War, a new arms race.”