Interview: Trump visit more important for Britain, May: expert

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-13 04:01:09|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Donald Trump's first visit as United States president to Britain is more important for the host nation and for its prime minister Theresa May than it is for the 45th president, according to a leading analyst.

"The British government, and prime minister May in particular, has more riding on this visit than the U.S. has -- particularly because the British are in the middle of negotiations on Brexit, and there are significant disagreements on how to move forward," Amy Pope, senior research fellow at London think-tank Chatham House, told Xinhua.

"The visit of a U.S. president can have an outsized impact on that dynamic," Pope said in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Pope said that Trump's method of communicating via Twitter and his inconsistency of statements added a level of unpredictability that might cause problems on the British leg of his European tour, which has already taken in the NATO summit and will see him meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin after his rip to Britain.

Pope believed that against a background of public protests from the British public over the visit and the president's unpredictability, one of the best outcomes of Trump's visit would be that it underlines the continued close cooperation of Britain and the U.S., the so-called "Special Relationship".

"The best case scenario is making sure that this visit reaffirms the many ways in which Britain and the U.S. continue to work so well," said the analyst.


Britain and the U.S. were founding members of NATO, and were allies in both world wars. Since the end of the Second World War, both nations have cooperated closely on military and security issues.

Pope believed that the nature of these underlying issues and their continuance were more important to both nations than the presidential visit itself.

"This is more than the Trump visit; this is also about the Special Relationship," she said.

"The U.S. and Britain tend to approach problem-solving from a similar point of view -- whether it's security or trade or other issues, there is broad alignment in the way the countries see the world."

"Despite the noise of politics at the moment that continues, reaffirming that relationship is as important for the U.S. as it is for Britain."

Pope said that issues Trump and May would cover in their talks Friday were wide-ranging.

The future relationship of Britain and EU, and bilateral trade would be on the agenda, alongside discussions about cooperation between Britain and the U.S. on security and counter terrorism, which Pope said had been deep and broad.

These deep and binding relations between the two countries are unlikely to be changed by the visit, said Pope, despite the headlines generated by protests and the president's Twitter feed.

"That's a kind of noise, there is always a danger the president will tweet something that is not consistent with where he has been before or where his advisers have prepared him to go," said Pope.


Both nations will seek to continue their Special Relationship, said Pope.

However, Britain is in a position where it is leaving a very close relationship with the EU, and needs to demonstrate that it still has influence with its other main partner the U.S..

May said before the visit that she expected it would be an opportunity to boost trade links and strengthen cooperation on security.

She also said that alongside trade and security cooperation, other key areas to be discussed between the two leaders included the Middle East, where Britain has a permanent military presence which has been increased in recent years.

"I think Britain needs to show as it leaves the EU it still has the attention of and the relationship with the U.S.," said Pope.

"Britain alone is much less influential without really important partners, and if they are moving away from the EU it is more important than ever to show alignment partnership with the U.S."

"For Britain there is a value to both to show the partnership is as strong or stronger than before," added the expert.