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Trump vows to improve relations with Russia and China if elected president

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Republican front-runner Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to seek better relations with Russia and China if elected president in November and said he would make U.S. allies bear more of the financial burden for their defense.

In a major speech, Trump delivered a withering critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying the Democratic president has let China take advantage of the United States and has failed to defeat Islamic State militants. He pledged to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy.”

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The New York billionaire 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.

With U.S.-Russian relations strained over numerous issues including Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Trump said “an easing of tensions with Russia from a position of strength” is possible.

Trump, a real estate magnate, also said he would use U.S. economic leverage to persuade China to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

“China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically we have lost all their respect,” he said.

Trump said he would call separate summits of NATO and Asian allies to discuss a “rebalancing” of the U.S. financial commitment to their defense.

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He 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.

Trump, a reality TV star, has never held elected office and has built support – particularly among white working class voters – with a no-nonsense style and populist pledges to “make America great again.”

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He 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.

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(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick, Warren Strobel and Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)


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Elections 2016

California bill to establish nation’s second public bank applauded as ‘historic challenge to Wall Street domination’

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"If California is serious about addressing racial and income inequities, we must create a banking system that centers people not profits."

In a move advocacy groups celebrated as a "historic challenge to Wall Street domination of municipal finances," a pair of California state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation that would establish the nation's second publicly-owned bank and empower the institution to lend to businesses and local governments fighting to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19

What is China doing to stop Beijing’s new coronavirus outbreak?

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Over 1,000 flights have been cancelled, schools shut and residents urged not to leave Beijing, as Chinese authorities race to contain a fresh outbreak linked to the capital's largest wholesale food market.

The number of confirmed cases in the capital has shot up to 137 within the last week after two months of no cases, and four other provinces have revealed cases linked to the Beijing cluster.

How did the outbreak begin, and what measures are Beijing taking to contain it?

- What is the origin of the cluster? -

Beijing had turned into a virtual fortress at the height of the pandemic, with people arriving from other regions or countries required to undergo quarantines.

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2020 Election

Democrats and Never-Trumpers gaming out ‘doomsday scenarios’ if president refuses to leave office: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, Democratic strategists and Never-Trumper conservatives fear Donald Trump will refuse to leave office should he lose in November and are making plans and figuring out their legal options should such an unprecedented state of affairs come to pass.

The report, by the Times' Reid Epstein, begins with one such possible scenario.

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