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Thursday December 12th, 2019 5:33AM

The Latest: Trump pushes N American trade deal at NATO

By The Associated Press
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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the NATO summit in London (all times local):

4 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he would understand if the leaders of Canada and Mexico get tired of waiting on the United States to pass a new trade agreement among the nations.

Trump says the deal is good for all three nations, calling it one of the few transactions in which all three countries benefit “as a unit against the world.”

Trump is talking about the trade deal in a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of a NATO summit in London.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted on changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to ensure that improved labor and environmental standards are enforced.

The Republican Trump says prospects for the agreement’s passage rest with Democrat Pelosi. He says: “If it gets put up for a vote, it passes, but so far, she hasn’t decided to do that.”

___

3:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump says NATO member countries that he thinks aren’t spending enough on defense will be “dealt” with either through curtailed trade with the U.S. or possibly a tax.

Trump has complained for a long time that the U.S. is carrying too much of NATO's financial burden and that members that skimp on defense spending are freeloading off America.

Trump referenced countries that aren't keep their commitments and said “maybe I’ll deal with them from a trade standpoint.”

He also says he’ll work something out, “so they have to pay.”

Trump was speaking in London where he is attending at NATO summit.

Before Trump was elected, NATO members agreed to move “toward” a goal of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on their own defense by 2024.

Earlier this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the majority of NATO's 29 member countries have plans to reach that goal.

___

3:40 p.m.

Increasingly tense relations between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron were on display when the subject of Islamic State fighters surfaced on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London.

Trump says many of the IS fighters who remain detained in the Middle East are from France, Germany and Britain. Trump asked Macron: “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you.”

Macron wasn’t amused.

Macron says he's looking at foreign fighters from France on a case-by-case basis and has taken back some fighters. Several French IS suspects will be returned to France on Dec. 9.

But he says the No. 1 problem is not foreign fighters, but in finishing the war against IS.

Trump told Macron his response was one of the “greatest non answers” he’s ever heard.

___

3:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are criticizing Turkey, which is part of NATO but has taken actions that have angered members of the alliance.

Trump said Tuesday that he had a great relationship with Turkey, although he said that the U.S. was considering imposing sanctions on Ankara for buying a Russian-made missile defense system. He spoke on the sidelines of a NATO summit in London.

Macron says Turkey and France cooperate on security, trade and migration. But he says that it's not possible for Turkey to be a member of the NATO alliance when it buys Russia's S-400 missile system.

The U.S. and other allies say the system is not compatible with NATO forces and could compromise the F-35 fighter jet program and aid Russian intelligence

Macron says NATO needs clarification from Turkey about its commitment to the alliance.

___

2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is acknowledging a "minor dispute" over a French digital service tax and U.S. threats to slap new tariffs on French cheese, wine and other products.

Trump says he thinks the two nations will be able to resolve the trade dispute, possibly through some "mutually beneficial tax."

He spoke Tuesday to French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London. The rapport between the two was respectful but appeared cooler than it has in the past.

Trump said he was happy to see NATO members increasing their defense spending but says even more needs to be done to share the financial burden of NATO.

Macron said NATO must not only be concerned about money but needs to refocus itself on new threats facing the alliance.

___

2:35 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that NATO’s expansion poses a threat to his nation’s security.

Putin noted that the alliance was created to counter the Soviet Union and has continued to expand despite the Soviet collapse. He was speaking at a Tuesday meeting with military leaders ahead of a NATO summit in London.

He said that stereotypical “bloc thinking” isn’t a good way to make decisions in “rapidly changing global conditions.”

Putin said the alliance has stonewalled Moscow’s offers to cooperate in tackling global challenges, including international terrorism and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He alleged that NATO has treated Russia “rudely” and refused to take its interests into account.

Putin says NATO’s expansion and beefing up of its military infrastructure near Russia’s borders raises a “potential threat.”

___

2:25 p.m.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg says climate change increasingly poses security risks, particularly in the Arctic region, and that NATO has a role to play in mitigating its impact.

Solberg says “climate change is a big insecurity creator” because it leads to more migration and less sustainable development that fuels extremism.

She says: “It’s much less costly to prevent climate change than to adapt to it.”

She was speaking in London on Tuesday ahead of a NATO summit.

Singling out China and the United States, Solberg said the challenges posed by global warming cannot be faced “without having the big emitters on board.”

She says China continues to open new coal mines to secure its energy needs even as heavy air pollution threatens the health of its people.

___

11:30 a.m.

As NATO leaders trade barbs ahead of a tense summit in London, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russia is watching developments at the alliance’s birthday meeting “with great attention.”

The 29-country trans-Atlantic military alliance was founded in 1949 to provide collective security for Europe against what was then the Soviet Union.

Peskov said Tuesday that NATO is “a product of the era of confrontation, the Cold War era,” something he says that Russia does not want to return to.

But he says that “an alliance that was created and shaped by the confrontation ideology, of course, can’t bring anything else” but confrontation.

Turkey’s increasingly close relations with Moscow — and its purchase of Russian air defense systems that are incompatible with NATO equipment — has added to tensions among the allies.

But Peskov says those ties are not hurting NATO.

France, meanwhile, also wants closer ties with Russia.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is vowing to stay out of U.K. parliamentary elections set for this month but is praising incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership.

Trump says he and Johnson will meet during the two-day NATO leaders’ meeting in London, although the White House has not announced a sit-down.

While the British premier and Trump have a friendly relationship, Johnson is trying to keep Trump, who is unpopular in the U.K., at arms-length ahead of the Dec. 12 elections.

"I don't want to complicate it,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump added that he’s a “fan” of Brexit and said he knows “nothing” of Johnson’s Labour Party rival, Jeremy Corbyn.

He described Johnson as “very capable" and said "he will do a good job."

Johnson is set to host Trump and other NATO leaders at a reception in London later Tuesday.

___

9:45 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump says French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments that NATO is experiencing “brain death” is very insulting to the military alliance’s other 28 members.

Trump took aim at Macron with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by his side and called his comments “very nasty.”

Macron said the alliance was experiencing “brain death” in an interview with the Economist published last month, suggesting that the alliance was becoming obsolete.

“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” Trump said.

Trump has repeatedly criticized fellow NATO members and complained that too few nations are on track to meet the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.

Trump also lashed out at France for a digital service tax that he said unfairly discriminates against U.S. tech companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Robert Lighthizer, the chief U.S. trade representative, on Monday recommended the U.S. respond with $2.4 billion in new tariffs on French cheese, wine and other products.

Trump is scheduled to meet Macron later Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

___

8 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he still will not agree to a NATO defense proposal for Poland and the Baltic nations until the alliance supports Ankara's concerns related to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Before departing to attend a NATO leaders’ summit in London, Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with the leaders of Poland and the Baltics during the gathering that marks the alliance's 70th birthday.

A plan to defend the Baltic nations in case of a Russian attack requires all member states’ backing.

Turkey has accused NATO allies of backing Baltic countries' security concerns but dismissing threats to Turkey from the Kurdish fighters.

Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists and invaded parts of northeast Syria to drive them away from its border.

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