Prime Minister Theresa May held a press conference with US President Donald Trump on 13 July 2018, during his official visit to the UK.
I am 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 peoples safe and prosperous. And we want to deepen that co-operation 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 co-operation 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 co-operation 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 US equipment and support over the next decade.
Today we have 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 co-operation, 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 US-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 co-operation, and – as two of the world’s most advanced economies – seizing the opportunity of new technology. All of this will further enhance our economic co-operation, creating new jobs and prosperity for our peoples for generations to come.
The UK-US 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 long-standing nuclear threat of DPRK, where the agreement in Singapore has set in train the prospect of denuclearisation, to which the UK is proud to be contributing expertise. Or the need to address the destabilising influence of Iran in the Middle East, where today we have 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 defence 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 US.
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 US 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 US 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 am confident that this transatlantic alliance will continue to be the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for years to come.