The US vice-president has delivered the most uncompromising message yet from the Trump administration to Nato allies that they have to step up financial contributions towards defence spending.
On his first visit to Europe since taking office, Mike Pence said “some of our largest allies do not have a credible path” towards paying their share of Nato’s financial burden. Although he did not name individual countries, his targets included Germany, France and Italy. “The time has come to do more,” he said.
This section of his speech to the Munich security conference, which is being attended by 500 delegates including government leaders and defence and foreign ministers from around the world, was greeted with lukewarm applause.
The detained man, identified as Ri Jong Chol, 46, is the fourth person to be picked up by investigators and the only suspect from North Korea. They other three suspects hold Vietnamese, Indonesia and Malaysian documents.
People close to Kim Jong-nam say the former heir to the North Korean leadership had feared his younger brother, the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un – a man he’s reportedly never met but who has executed several senior officials including family members – might make an attempt on his life.
Merkel resists US demands to raise defence spending and warns that she won’t rush to meet Nato targets
- Germany’s chancellor said her country was ‘conscious of its responsibility’
- It will stick to the aim of raising defence spending to 2% of national income
- EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday said Europe must not cave in to the US demands to raise military spending
Angela Merkel last night refused to concede to US demands to raise defence spending.
Germany’s chancellor said she was in no hurry to meet Nato targets because there were other issues to deal with.
She said her country was ‘conscious of its responsibility’ and would stick to the long-term aim of raising defence spending to 2 per cent of national income by 2024.
F-15s scramble to intercept unresponsive aircraft over restricted airspace over West Palm Beach
Two F-15s caused a ‘sonic boom’ as they raced from their base in Homestead, Fla., Friday to intercept an unresponsive general aviation aircraft that flew near Palm Beach during a stay by President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
The jets flew at supersonic speeds and residents were startled by the loud boom, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, said in a statement. The two fighters were able to establish communication with the aircraft. This incident occured at about 7 p.m. ET. No further details were immediately available.
“The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local FAA air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers’ instructions to land safely for follow-on action,” the statement read.
Citing a Yahoo News interview with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn last July, a House committee has opened an investigation into whether President Trump’s recently resigned national security adviser received an improper payment from the Russian government for a trip to Moscow in December 2015.
In an unusual bipartisan letter, House Oversight and Government Reform committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz and ranking minority member Rep. Elijah Cummings have asked a Washington-based speakers bureau, Leading Authorities, to turn over information on how much Flynn was paid for his appearance at an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of RT — the Russian-government funded news organization — where he sat at the same table for dinner as President Vladimir Putin. Flynn also sat for a 44-minute interview with RT anchor Sophie Shevardnadze, granddaughter of former Soviet foreign affairs minister Eduard Shevardnadze, as part of the trip.
He attended almost a dozen meetings with his diplomatic counterparts from the Group of 20 major world economies, all fairly routine for a secretary of state on an overseas trip.
But in one sense it was a landmark day for Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil chief executive with no previous experience in public office. For the first time since addressing employees upon arriving at the State Department two weeks ago, he made a public statement about foreign policy, taking a firm line on Russia and Ukraine. That suggested that the stasis that has gripped the State Department in recent weeks may be ebbing.