Trump, Macron agree on defence after 'insulting' European army spat

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Macron said in an interview earlier this week that Europe needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace.

Paris - US President Donald Trump and France's Emmanuel Macron agreed on Saturday on the need for more European defence spending, papering over an earlier Trump tweet that had described Macron's call for a European army as "very insulting".

US President Donald Trump is set to snub a peace conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron this weekend as part of World War I commemorations in Paris, organisers said Thursday.

In a recent radio interview, Mr. Macron said Europe needed a strong military to defend itself without relying on the U.S. But he also lumped the U.S.in with China and Russian Federation as possible aggressor nations.

Trump is due in the French capital along with around 70 other leaders for a ceremony on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

Visiting heads of state will then gather for dinner in Paris in the evening.

"I don't think we have anything scheduled in Paris and I'm coming back very quickly", the president said.

He said it's "unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States", but did not respond to a question about why he felt France needed protection from the U.S.

Yet Trump will depart shortly after visiting a memorial site marking the sacrifice of USA military troops, leaving town just as Macron's Paris Peace Forum gets underway, a meeting aimed at galvanizing multilateral co-operation on shared challenges, including climate change.

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Trump, who is in France for commemorations marking the centenary of the end of the war, and his wife Melania were to have flown by helicopter to the Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery where U.S. Marines faced off against German forces in 1918.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump will also visit the American cemetery in Belleau, France, on Saturday to pay their respects to USA soldiers who died on French soil during the war.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton Friday downplayed Trump's decision not to attend the inaugural Paris Peace Forum - to be attended by Putin and Erdogan - telling reporters in Paris the president had "a lot of pressing issues" to attend to.

Trump also reminded Macron of the need for Europe to pay its "fair share of NATO" costs during the meeting.

Former Macron campaign adviser Francois Heisbourg also knocked Trump, posting a photo of a cyclist peddling through a wet street corner in Paris.

This wasn't the first time Trump has blamed his distaste for presidential duties on the weather. Trump added that he and Macron are "getting along from the standpoint of fairness".

The French side later clarified that Trump had lumped together two different comments by Macron.

However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather.

That concern about becoming entangled in a conflict feeds into U.S. President Donald Trump's unease with military alliances such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - which in turn keeps Trudeau talking about maintaining alliances. While Republicans slightly expanded their majority in the U.S. Senate, they lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats who may use their newfound power to launch investigations into Trump and stymie his agenda.

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