Trump, Merkel Address Iran, North Korea In Joint Press Conference

Hailing Merkel as an "extraordinary woman", Trump insisted "we must have a fair and reciprocal trading relationship with our friends and partners".

Merkel's attempt to ingratiate herself with the right-wing occupant of the White House, coming just days after French President Macron's visit, can not hide the fact that the divisions between Washington and Berlin, and Berlin and Paris, are rising. Saying people in Germany and some other countries may not like him, he remarked, "That means I'm doing a good job because I'm representing the United States".

Now it has emerged that Mike Pompeo, confirmed last week as the new US Secretary of State, visited North Korea this month (when he was still director of the CIA), and met the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to prepare the ground for a meeting between Trump and Kim next month.

Trump credited his campaign of "maximum pressure" with economic sanctions for bringing Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

While Mr Macron and Mr Trump went to great lengths to display their affection through hearty handshakes, hugs - and, at times, air kisses - the president has not displayed the same chemistry with Ms Merkel.

Trump sat alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Friday and said that talks on the divided Korean peninsula have "never gone this far". It was the first time a North Korean leader had set foot on South Korean soil since 1953.

That should be fine with Merkel, who has little to gain back home by being overly friendly with Trump, according to German political analyst Jan Techau. She suggested the president wasn't convinced.

During his state visit earlier this week with Trump in Washington, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the USA not to abandon the deal and said a new package of terms was being prepared with Britain and Germany.

However, if we are to believe French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump might get his new deal: his European partners are now working on a revision of the original 2015 deal that seeks to address Trump's concerns, Macron said.

Le Gal said that Macron and Trump discussed these issues "very thoroughly", and that work must be done to implement the nuclear deal very "toughly, with inspections, with everything provided in the deal".

Otherwise, there will be no foundation to continue contacts, to continue the dialog, he told reporters. "He knows that President Trump would prefer the deal to be new, so I think that's how he characterized it, but I think what he is really talking about is embedding the existing JCPOA in a broader package". "The president I think is a bit more at ease at these things".

Trump has demanded changes to the deal to address Iran's ballistic missile programme and the country's destabilizing role in the region. Trump has made clear he considers such deficits a loss for the United States. Europe's plan would impose 25 per cent tariffs on US$3.4 billion (S$4.5 billion) in various United States exports.

Just how close does May want to get to Trump?

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A diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said Macron was making the case for what "has been in the pipeline among the E3 and the U.S".

  • Leroy Wright