Washington, Nov 16 (IANS) The White House said US President Donald Trump is to visit London for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Leaders Meeting in December, at a time when the bloc’s future and unity come under question.
Trump will use the visit, scheduled between December 2 and 4, to review the alliance’s burden sharing process, as well as calling on his counterparts to bolster their readiness, especially in the fields of cyberspace, infrastructure, telecommunications and anti-terrorism, according to the statement released on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The visit comes as tension between NATO’s member states becomes more public, most notably on the issue of burden-sharing, which pitted the United States and European members against each other.
Trump has repeatedly called for Europe to beef up its defence spending to meet the 2 percent of GDP threshold, while Europe is questioning U.S. commitment to Europe.
In a recent scathing attack, French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO is undergoing “brain death,” triggering a backlash from Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After meeting with Trump in the White House Thursday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg sought to downplay questions from the press about the bloc’s future. “Despite differences, we are able to unite around our core cause, which is to defend and protect each other,” he said.
NATO was formed in 1949 by 12 countries and over the years expanded to include 29 member countries, with the latest addition being Montenegro in 2017.
Trump’s visit will also feature a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.