U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson pushes NATO for more defense spending

World Today

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, front left, speaks with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, front right, during a group photo of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, March 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

NATO Foreign Ministers are in Brussels for a meeting on security and defense. U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, made his first appearance.

During the meeting, he tried to ease concerns over President Trump’s harsh campaign rhetoric about the Alliance.

CGTN’s Jack Parrock is in Brussels with more on trans-Atlantic ties.

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson pushes NATO for more defense spending

NATO Foreign Ministers are in Brussels for a meeting on security and defense. U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, made his first appearance.

At NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Tillerson met with his counterparts for the first time and he wanted to talk money.

“First is ensuring that NATO has all of the resources – financial and otherwise – that are necessary for NATO to fulfill its mission,” said America’s top envoy.

U.S. President Donald Trump, just like his predecessor, has been critical of many of America’s NATO allies for not meeting the agreed spending target of two percent of GDP on military.

Germany’s foreign minister says the request is not realistic. “Two percent would mean that Germany puts 70 billion euros into the military. I think that is, I don’t know any politician in Germany who would claim that is reachable or desirable in our country,” said Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister.

NATO members have until 2024 to hit the two percent target and the suggestion now is that there should be special national plans per country.

This meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers was rescheduled because of Rex Tillerson’s commitments. It was supposed to be next week. The alliance is doing everything it can to accommodate the new government in the United States.

Apart from the spending targets, the agenda items for the ministers included tensions with Russia and counter-terrorism. NATO will now brace itself for a visit by Trump himself. He’s heading here to meet his fellow NATO leaders in May.


Jonah Blank discusses U.S NATO ties

For more on U.S. NATO ties, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Jonah Blank, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation.