Trump endorses Bolsonaro at White House, mulls bringing Brazil into NATO

By Lisandra Paraguassu and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave Brazil's new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro a ringing endorsement in the Oval Office on Tuesday, saying he was looking at a NATO membership or some other alliance for Brazil. At the outset of their first meeting, the two populist presidents exchanged soccer jerseys from their national teams, with Trump's name emblazoned on Brazil's famous yellow shirt and Bolsonaro's on the USA uniform

Reuters March 20, 2019 00:06:22 IST
Trump endorses Bolsonaro at White House, mulls bringing Brazil into NATO

Trump endorses Bolsonaro at White House mulls bringing Brazil into NATO

By Lisandra Paraguassu and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave Brazil's new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro a ringing endorsement in the Oval Office on Tuesday, saying he was looking at a NATO membership or some other alliance for Brazil.

At the outset of their first meeting, the two populist presidents exchanged soccer jerseys from their national teams, with Trump's name emblazoned on Brazil's famous yellow shirt and Bolsonaro's on the USA uniform.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who styled his 2018 campaign on Trump's 2016 run, has declared himself on unabashed admirer of the U.S. president and his politics and the American way of life.

Despite the friendly rhetoric, no major breakthroughs were expected from the White House meeting.

Trump did give his verbal support, however, to expanding Brazil's presence in major multinational organizations, like NATO and the OECD.

"We're going to look at that very, very strongly in terms of - whether it's NATO or it's something having to do with alliance," Trump told reporters, sitting next to Bolsonaro.

Brazilian government officials had said last week that they expected the United States to name Brazil as a major non-NATO ally. But proposing Brazil for NATO membership would take that a step further.

Colombia became in 2018 the only Latin American nation to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as a "global partner," which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action.

Trump also said he supported Brazil's efforts to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of the world's advanced economies.

Brazil, the world's eighth-largest economy, applied in 2017 to join the OECD, which has around three dozen members including Latin American countries Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

A senior member of Bolsonaro's economic team said last week Brazil did not expect the U.S. government to announce support for its bid to join the OECD during Bolsonaro's visit.

Trump said he and Bolsonaro would also discuss improving trade between the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere and cooperation on the crisis in Venezuela, where both leaders want to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

"Brazil makes great product and we make great product, and our trade has been never as good as it should be in the past. And in some cases it should be far, far more," Trump said.

China long ago surpassed the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner and Bolsonaro's economy minister on Monday urged the United States to open its market more to Brazil if it wanted to change the status quo.

Ahead of Tuesday's Oval Office meeting, Bolsonaro waived a visa requirement for U.S. visitors to Brazil and later in a Fox News interview on Monday night threw his weight behind Trump's immigration agenda, which includes a wall on the Mexican border.

"We do agree with President Trump's decision or proposal on the wall," Bolsonaro said, in remarks translated to English by the broadcaster. "The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions. They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people."

(Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun and Mary Milliken; Editing by Bill Trott and Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.