Trump Links NATO Commitment to Fair Treatment
Former U.S. President Donald Trump has hinted at increasing the defense cost-sharing of allied nations. His mention of the defense cost issue which he has prioritized since his first term, suggests that the defense cost burden of U.S. allies, including South Korea may increase if he is re-elected.
On the 10th (local time), former President Trump, in a ‘Town Hall Meeting’ held in Iowa under the auspices of Fox News, answered a question about whether he would maintain his defense commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by stating, “It depends on whether they treat us properly”.
Former President Trump continued, “NATO has taken advantage of us,” expressing his stance that the U.S. has been burdened with defense costs because the allied nations have not paid their share.
It was reported that former President Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO and demanded an increase in contributions from Europe during the Davos Forum in 2020.
U.S. political media <Polirico> reported that day, citing Thierry Breton, a member of the European Union (EU) Executive Committee, that former President Trump said in a private meeting during the forum, “NATO is now dead. We are going to withdraw from NATO”.
According to Commissioner Breton, former President Trump also said at the time, “If Europe is attacked, we will never come to help you and we will not support you.” He also claimed, “The Germans did not pay for their security. They owe me 400 billion dollars”.
This is interpreted as a reaffirmation of former President Trump’s stance that the defense costs of European allies should be increased. However, according to the media, former President Trump’s side did not take a clear stance on this remark.
However, considering that he has publicly stated since his 2016 presidential candidacy that he would increase the defense cost-sharing of allied countries, mentioning the European Union (EU), Japan, and South Korea, and that the actual 2021 defense cost-sharing of South Korea increased by 13.9% under the agreement between the two countries, which was a negotiation level made during former President Trump’s term, it is observed that the increase in defense cost sharing is a foregone conclusion if he is re-elected.
Meanwhile, with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie withdrawing from the Republican presidential race just days before the election, there is speculation that former President Trump may nominate him as his vice presidential candidate.
In response to a question about whether he could choose a vice presidential candidate from among his competitors in the party’s primary, former President Trump said, “Yes,” adding, “I’ve started to like Christie more.” He made remarks suggesting that former Governor Christie is a strong candidate for vice president, saying, “I can’t be sure, but I know who it will be.”
In addition, former President Trump criticized current President Biden’s health and age issues, while praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin as “very smart and cunning.”
The process of selecting the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election begins on the 15th in Iowa with a ‘Caucus’ election in which only party members vote, and the election proceeds according to the method decided by each state. The final candidate will be confirmed at the party convention in July.
By. Jae Ho Lee