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President Donald Trump holds up a chart of military hardware sales as he meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House, March 20, 2018. EPA-EFE/KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL
President Donald Trump holds up a chart of military hardware sales as he meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House, March 20, 2018. EPA-EFE/KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL

Trump congratulates Putin

"We'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control," the president told reporters on Tuesday.

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President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he plans to meet with newly re-elected Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss what he described as an arms race between the two nuclear powers.

"I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory," Trump told reporters as he and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat down in the Oval Office. "We'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control."

"As you know, (Putin) made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing, that was right after the election, one of the first statements he made. And we are spending $700 billion this year on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world, by far," said Trump.

The president went on to say that "We had a very good call ... but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have (militarily), and (we will also meet) to discuss Ukraine and Syria and North Korea and various other things."

The Kremlin, in reporting on the call, had said earlier that "special attention was paid to making progress on the question of holding a possible meeting at the highest level."

"The leaders said they would work to develop practical cooperation in various directions, including in questions of assuring strategic stability and fighting international terrorism," the Kremlin said. "Among other things, the need to coordinate efforts to limit an arms race was discussed" as well as the need to "coordinate efforts to limit the arms race" and achieve closer cooperation on strategic stability and counterterrorism efforts.

"In all, the conversation carried a constructive, businesslike character and was oriented toward overcoming the problems that have piled up in US-Russian relations," Moscow added.

Regarding North Korea, Putin and Trump expressed their satisfaction over a certain reduction in tensions in the region and said they felt it was prudent to continue with efforts to resolve the problem posed by Pyongyang's nuclear program by "peaceful and diplomatic" means.

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