Trump pressures Norway to up defense spending
11 Jan 2018, 23:58 ( 11 Jan, 2018) | updated: 12 Jan 2018, 00:17 ( 12 Jan, 2018)
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Norway to meet the 2 percent of GDP defense spending bar, something he repeatedly urged other U.S. allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
"I encourage Norway to follow through on its commitment to meet the 2 percent of GDP defense spending obligation," said Trump during a joint press conference at the White House with visiting Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
"So that together, we can confront the full range of threats facing our nations. And I believe Norway will get there quite soon," he added.
In response, Solberg noted that Norway is "already number two in NATO after the U.S. in terms of per capita defense spending."
"And we are making significant investments to further strengthen our defense," she added.
Since taking office, Trump has been complaining about the NATO members who did not meet the mandated defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP. During his trip to Europe in May, he bluntly chided the leaders of some NATO members, saying many of them "owe massive amounts of money" to the alliance.
Trump's critique, along with his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, has frustrated U.S. allies on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Until mid 2017, only five of NATO's 29 members met the bloc's spending guidelines, with Lithuania and Latvia expected to reach the target in 2018.