WASHINGTON Republican front-runner Donald Trump said on Wednesday that if elected president in November he would make U.S. allies bear more of the financial burden for their defense.
In a major speech, Trump said that as president he would "shake the rust off America's foreign policy" and would rebuild the U.S. military.
Trump was stern in charging that American allies have benefited from a U.S. defense umbrella but have not paid their fair share.
"The countries we defend must pay for the cost of this defense. If not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice," Trump said.
He spoke the day after victories in five Northeastern states that moved him closer to capturing the Republican Party presidential nomination for the Nov. 8 election.
The New York billionaire set aside his rancorous campaign rhetoric for his address on foreign policy, delivered at a downtown Washington hotel. Trump usually speaks in an off-the-cuff manner, but he delivered Wednesday's speech with the aid of a teleprompter as he sought to make himself appealing to more Republican voters.
(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick, Warren Strobel and Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)
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