President Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO meets for the first time at the White House on Wednesday to discuss preparation for the meeting of NATO heads of state and government, including NATO's contribution to the fight against terrorism, according to NATO.
Stoltenberg is touting NATO's benefits at a joint press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Since taking office, Trump has expressed support for NATO but has reinforced his view that European members must meet a 2014 agreement for member countries to boost defense spending to 2 percent of GDP within a decade. Just the U.S. and a handful of other countries are meeting the target.
In 2016, NATO "saw an increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada," Stoltenberg said, "10 billion dollars more" than ever before.
NATO provides crucial support to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, as well as help training soldiers and intelligence sharing, Stoltenberg said. Both he and Trump agree that NATO is "a bedrock" of security for both Europe and the United States.
The president, who spoke with China leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night, discussed the call at the joint press conference. "I think he wants to help us with North Korea," Trump said.
"The way you’re going to make good trade deal is you’re going to help us with North Korea," Trump told Xi.
According to a description of the call released by the Chinese foreign ministry, Xi told Trump that Beijing is willing to work on denuclearization but wants a peaceful solution.
When asked about whether his opinion on Russia leader Vladimir Putin has changed, Trump responded "We're going to see about that."
"I’d love to get along with everybody. By the time I’m finished, the world’s going to be a lot better place to live in because right now it’s ‘nasty.'"