Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Conference | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    Chequers  •  Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom  •  July 13, 2018  •  1:52 P.M. BST

    PRIME MINISTER MAY: Well, good afternoon. And I'm pleased to welcome the President of the United States to Chequers today on his first official visit to the United Kingdom. No two countries do more together than ours to keep their people safe and prosperous. And we want to deepen that cooperation even further to meet the shared challenges we face now and in the years ahead.

    This morning, President Trump and I visited Sandhurst, where we saw a demonstration of joint working between British and American special forces. Just one example of what is today the broadest, deepest, and most advanced security cooperation of any two countries in the world.

    Whether it is our pilots deterring the use of chemical weapons in Syria or defeating Daesh, our soldiers at the forefront of NATO's presence in Eastern Europe, our navies in the Pacific enforcing sanctions on North Korea, or our unparalleled intelligence-sharing partnership thwarting attacks, our security cooperation is saving lives here in Britain, in America, and right across the world.

    That partnership is set to grow, with our armies integrating to a level unmatched anywhere, and the UK set to spend £24 billion on U.S. equipment and support over the next decade.

    Today, we've also discussed how we can deepen our work together to respond to malign state activity, terrorism, and serious crime. In particular, on Russia, I thanked President Trump for his support in responding to the appalling use of a nerve agent in Salisbury, after which he expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers. And I welcomed his meeting with President Putin in Helsinki on Monday. We agreed that it is important to engage Russia from a position of strength and unity, and that we should continue to deter and counter all efforts to undermine our democracies.

    Turning to our economic cooperation, with mutual investment between us already over $1 trillion, we want to go further. We agreed today that, as the UK leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious U.S.-UK free trade agreement. The Chequers Agreement reached last week provides the platform for Donald and me to agree an ambitious deal that works for both countries right across our economies, a deal that builds on the UK's independent trade policy, reducing tariffs; delivering a gold standard in financial services cooperation; and, as two of the world's most advanced economies, seizing the opportunity of new technology.

    All of this will further enhance our economic cooperation, creating new jobs and prosperity for our peoples for generations to come.

    The UK-U.S. relationship is also defined by the role we play on the world stage. Doing this means making tough calls, and sometimes being prepared to say things that others might rather not hear. From the outset, President Trump has been clear about how he sees the challenges we face. And on many, we agree.

    For example, the need to deal with the longstanding nuclear threat of DPRK, where the agreement in Singapore has set in train the prospect of denuclearization, to which the UK is proud to be contributing expertise. Or the need to address the destabilizing influence of Iran in the Middle East, where today we've discussed what more we can do to push back on Iran in Yemen, and reduce humanitarian suffering.

    Or the need for NATO Allies to increase their defense spending and capability, on which we saw significant increases at yesterday's summit. This includes Afghanistan, where this week I announced a further uplift of 440 UK troops - an ongoing commitment to a mission that began as NATO's only use of Article 5, acting in support of the U.S.

    Finally, let me say this about the wider transatlantic relationship: It is all of our responsibility to ensure that transatlantic unity endures, for it has been fundamental to the protection and projection of our interests and values for generations.

    With U.S. leadership at its foundation, its beating heart remains our democratic values and our commitment to justice. Those values are something that we, in the UK, will always cherish, as I know the U.S. will too. It is the strength of these values and the common interests they create that we see across the breadth of our societies in North America and Europe.

    And that is why I'm confident that this transatlantic alliance will continue to be the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for years to come.

    Mr. President.

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Prime Minister, thank you very much. And it is my true honor to join you at this remarkable setting - truly magnificent - as we celebrate the special relationship between our two countries. On behalf of the American people, I want to thank you for your very gracious hospitality. Thank you very much, Theresa.

    Last night, Melania and I were delighted to join you and Philip for dinner at the magnificent Blenheim Palace. It was a wonderful and memorable evening that we will not soon forget. It was really something very special.

    Today, it's a true privilege to visit historic Chequers that I've heard so much about and read so much about growing up in history class, and to continue our conversation, which has really proceeded along rapidly and well over the last few days.

    For generations, our predecessors have gathered at this stunning retreat to strengthen a bond that is like no other. The relationship between our two nations is indispensable to the cause of liberty, justice and peace.

    The United Kingdom and the United States are bound together by a common historic heritage, language, and heroes. The traditions of freedom, sovereignty, and the true rule of law were our shared gift to the world. They are now our priceless inheritance to a civilization. We must never cease to be united in their defense and in their renewal.

    Before our dinner last night, Melania and I joined Prime Minister May, Mr. May, and the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough for a tour of the Winston Churchill Exhibit at Blenheim Palace. It was something; it was something very special. It was from right here at Chequers that Prime Minister Churchill phoned President Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor. In that horrific war, American and British servicemembers bravely shed their blood alongside one another in defense of home and in defense of freedom. And together, we achieved a really special, magnificent victory. And it was total victory.

    Prime Minister May and I have just come from a very productive NATO summit - that was truly a productive summit -where my top priority was getting other NATO members to pay their full and fair share. And the Prime Minister was right there with me.

    I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for the United Kingdom's contribution to our common defense. The UK is one of the handful of nations - 5 out of 29 - not good, but it's going to get better really fast - in addition to the United States meeting the 2-percent GDP minimum defense spending commitment.

    During the summit, I made clear all NATO Allies must honor their obligations, and I am pleased to report that we have received substantial commitments from members to increase their defense spending and to do so in a much more timely manner.

    In our meetings today, the Prime Minister and I discussed a range of shared priorities, including stopping nuclear proliferation. I thanked Prime Minister May for her partnership in our pursuit of a nuclear-free North Korea. She's been a tremendous help.

    The Prime Minister and I also discussed Iran. We both agree that Iran must never possess a nuclear weapon and that I must halt, and we must do it - and I'm going to do it and she's going to do it, and we're all going to do it together. We have to stop terrorism. It's a scourge. We have to stop terrorism. And we have to get certain countries - and they've come a long way, I believe - the funding of terrorism has to stop, and it has to stop now.

    I encouraged the Prime Minister to sustain pressure on the regime. And she needed absolutely no encouragement, because she, in fact, also encourages me. And we're doing that, and we're doing that together - very closely coordinated.

    The United Kingdom and the United States are also strengthening cooperation between our armed forces, who serve together on battlefields all around the world.

    Today, the Prime Minister and I viewed several U.S.-UK Special Forces demonstration - we saw some demonstration todays, frankly, that were incredible. The talent of these young brave, strong people. We saw it at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Seamless cooperation between our militaries is really just vital to addressing the many shared security threats. We have threats far different than we've ever had before. They've always been out there, but these are different and they're severe. And we will handle them well.

    We also recognize the vital importance of border security and immigration control. In order to prevent foreign acts of terrorism within our shores, we must prevent terrorists and their supporters from gaining admission in the first place. Border security is a national security problem. And in the United States, we are working very hard to get the Democrats to give us a couple of votes so we can pass meaningful and powerful border security.

    I also want to thank Prime Minister May for pursuing fair and reciprocal trade with the United States. Once the Brexit process is concluded, and perhaps the U.K. has left the EU - I don't know what they're going to do, but whatever you do is okay with me. That's your decision. Whatever you're going to do is okay with us. Just make sure we can trade together; that's all that matters. The United States looks forward to finalizing a great bilateral trade agreement with the United Kingdom. This is an incredible opportunity for our two countries, and we will seize it fully.

    We support the decision of the British people to realize full self-government, and we will see how that goes. Very complicated negotiation and not an easy negotiation, that's for sure. A strong and independent United Kingdom, like a strong and independent United States, is truly a blessing on the world.

    Prime Minister May, I want to thank you again for the honor of visiting the United Kingdom - a special place. My mother was born here, so it means something maybe just a little bit extra; maybe even a lot extra. And we had a wonderful visit. Last night, I think I got to know the Prime Minister better than at any time. We spent a lot of time together over a year and a half. But last night, we really - I was very embarrassed for the rest of the table. We just talked about lots of different problems and solutions to those problems. And it was a great evening.

    As we stand together this afternoon at Chequers, we continue a long tradition of friendship, collaboration, and affection between ourselves and also between our people. The enduring relationship between our nations has never been stronger than it is now.

    So, Madam Prime Minister, thank you very much. It's been an honor. Thank you. Thank you, Theresa.

    PRIME MINISTER MAY: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you.

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. (Applause.)

    PRIME MINISTER MAY: Now we will - we're going to take four questions each. I'll start off with Laura.

    Q Thank you very much, Prime Minister and Mr. President. Laura Kuenssberg, BBC News. Mr. President, you seem rather to have changed your tune from what you said earlier this week, when you said that, on the current Brexit plan, that would probably kill the possibility of a trade deal with the UK. Our countries are meant to have a special relationship, yet you publicly criticized the Prime Minister's policy and her personally for not listening to you this week. Is that really the behavior of a friend?

    And, Prime Minister, is it a problem for you that some of the things Mr. Trump has said about your Brexit plan are right? It will limit the possibilities of doing trade deals easily in the future. Can you also tell us how it felt for him to criticize you in the way he did in that interview?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, maybe I'll go first, because I didn't criticize the Prime Minister. I have a lot of respect for the Prime Minister. And, unfortunately, there was a story that was done, which was generally fine, but it didn't put in what I said about the Prime Minister. And I said tremendous things. And, fortunately, we tend to record stories now, so we have it for your enjoyment, if you'd like it. But we record when we deal with reporters. It's called fake news. You know, we solve a lot of problems with the good, old recording instrument.

    But what happens is that - look, the Prime Minister, as I really just said, she's going to make a decision as to what she's going to do. The only thing I ask of Theresa is that we make sure we can trade, that we don't have any restrictions, because we want to trade with the UK, and the UK wants to trade with us. We're, by far, their biggest trading partner. And we have just a tremendous opportunity to double, triple, quadruple that.

    So if they're going a slightly different route - and I know they do want independence. It's going to be independence; it's just your definition. But if they're going to go a certain route, I just said that I hope you're going to be able to trade with the United States. I read reports where that won't be possible, but I believe after speaking with the Prime Minister's people and representatives and trade experts, it will absolutely be possible.

    So, based on that, and based on just trade in general, and our other relationship - which will be fine - but the trade is a little bit tricky. We want to be able to trade, and they want to be able to trade, and I think we'll be able to do that. Okay? And I think she's doing a terrific job, by the way.

    PRIME MINISTER MAY: Thank you, Mr. President. And just to confirm what the President just said, Laura, there will be no limit to the possibility of us doing trade deals around the rest of the world once we leave the European Union, on the basis of the agreement that was made here at Chequers and that I've put forward to the European Union. And just to be clear, that is an agreement that delivers on the Brexit vote that we had in 2016 here in the UK, that delivers what I believe is at the forefront of people's mind when they were voting to leave the European Union.

    So at the end of these negotiations, we will ensure that free movement will come to an end. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice here in the UK will come to an end. The sending of vast sums of money every year to the EU will come to an end. We will come out of the Common Agricultural Policy. We will come out of the Common Fisheries Policy. And we will ensure, by not being in a customs union, that we are able to have an independent trade policy and do those trade deals around the world. And as you've heard from the President, the United States is keen for us. We're keen to work with them. And we will do a trade deal with them and with others around the rest of the world.

    Mr. President, would you like to select a -

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Jonathan Swan, go ahead.
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