Trump reverses position, says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is 'no longer obsolete'

Shortly before their news conference, a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into the Syria chemical attack failed - killed by a Russian veto.

China usually sides with Russian Federation in the Security Council, so the move to abstain represented a significant shift for Beijing.

The president, who spoke with China leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night, discussed the call at the joint press conference. "And then they started saying Trump is right".

President Donald Trump says it's "certainly possible" though "probably unlikely" that Russian Federation had advance knowledge of last week's chemical attack in Syria.

Trump had previously pushed for improved ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Trump has been cooler towards Moscow since last week's chemical weapons attack carried out by Russia's longtime ally, Syria. Trump called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a butcher". "And it's extremely expensive to the United States, disproportionately so". Trump launched a volley of missile strikes in response.

NATO's secretary general says defense spending is only part of the picture, though.




"Things went pretty well", he said during a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Soltenberg.

The about-face came during a joint appearance with NATO's secretary general in the East Room.

Following the meeting with Putin and earlier talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Tillerson told reporters that bilateral ties are "at a low point". They also agreed that shared burden of defense spending by other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries was an issue, and that "progress has been made on fairer burden-sharing, but that there is more to do".

Trump's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year would boost USA military spending by 10 percent, while making deep cuts in development and foreign aid.

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

Stoltenberg said "burden sharing" is his top priority and that countries are making progress in reaching the 2 percent threshold for spending on defense, including Romania, Latvia and Lithuania, which are expected to reach the threshold this year or next.

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