President Donald Trump is shifting his postelection focus with a weekend trip to Paris, joining an worldwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. He wasted no time mixing it up with his host, tweeting as he arrived in France that President Emmanuel Macron had made an "insulting" proposal to build up Europe's military to counter the U.S., China and Russian Federation.
Trump sent a tweet calling Macron's proposal "very insulting" as the USA president's plane landed Friday evening for celebrations with world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Both Trump and Mr Macron are scheduled to meet on Saturday morning at the French President's official residence, Élysée Palace, in Paris.
"When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim?"
Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said Friday in Paris that the US was concerned about stability in Europe and that Trump was not shirking from global engagement.
"We won't protect Europeans if we don't decide to have a real European army", Macron said.
"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States", he told Europe 1 broadcaster, suggesting for the first time that Europe might need to defend itself from America.
The row over European Union defence risks overshadowing commemorations to be attended by 70 world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Trump, however, since taking office almost two years ago, has repeatedly questioned the mutual defense pact and harshly criticized European countries for failing to meet pledges of contributions of 2 percent of their gross domestic product to the alliance.
The president, joined by his wife Melania and high-ranking U.S. officials, arrived late on Friday aboard Air Force One for a visit that he called "very special" and one that he "looked forward to". Macron's office declined to comment on Trump's tweet.
"I think it will be something very, very special", he said.
Also, the President will attend a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, in honour of visiting heads of delegations.
On Saturday afternoon, Mr Macron will meet Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in the town of Compiegne in northern France, where the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice. "I want to help people around the world, but we have to take care of our country, or we won't have a country". But the relationship-building failed to persuade Mr. Trump to remain in the global climate change or Iran deals and did nothing to protect France from US tariffs.