Armistice Day: Trump blasts Macron hours before Paris meeting

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"We must have a Europe that can defend itself more, without just relying on the U.S".

US President Donald Trump (R) and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Orly airport, outside Paris on November 9, 2018, ahead of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I.

Macron said in a radio interview earlier in the week that the European Union needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States".

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.

In the touchdown tweet, Trump suggested Europe first pay "its fair share" of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation before contemplating a Europe-wide force.

At the same time, Macron has increasingly been positioning himself as a bulwark against the rising tide of Trump-style populism across Europe, speaking out loudly against the dangers of nationalism and isolationist retreat.

The US leader and his wife Melania are on their second visit to Paris since July 2017 when Trump was Macron's guest of honour at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.

Trump's tweet just after landing in Paris that was highly critical of Macron is expected to strain the US-French relationship.

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Macron and other European leaders have repeatedly criticized Trump's efforts to undermine the deal, and have sought to create a special mechanism that would allow the bloc to avert USA sanctions and continue trading with Iran.

The primary goal of the president's visit, according to the administration official, will be attending ceremonies around the centennial commemoration of the end of World War I.

The French president, who tried but failed earlier this year to talk Trump out of withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, has also voiced worries about the impact of sanctions on European companies doing business with Iran.

"Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?" he asked.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron tour the Thiepval Memorial in France.

Macron will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the site, in a visit symbolising the close ties between two countries that fought three wars between 1870 and 1945.

Mr Trump's brief visit to Europe comes amid uncertainty about the United States relationship with the continent.

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