"I demonstrated Romania's readiness to accept a larger US military contingent, and President Trump was very open ... We want to have more [US] military personnel, for example, in the multinational brigade; in the regional command, which we plan to create; in the air police. There are various other specific issues that should surely be discussed at the earliest opportunity," Iohannis said, as quoted by his office.
According to the Romanian leader, Bucharest and Washington should develop military, political, energy, security and economic cooperation. Trump even showed interest in developing new energy sources, Iohannis noted while expressing hope that his country would become an energy provider in the region by advancing civil nuclear technologies.
On Tuesday, Trump and Iohannis met in Washington to discuss various topics pertaining to bilateral relations, including security, energy and trade. Ahead of these talks, Trump told reporters that he was planning to discuss plans to potential boost the US military presence in Romania.
Washington and its NATO allies have been increasing their missile defense capabilities in Eastern Europe in countries like Romania and Poland. A US military base with a MK-41 vertical launching system has been operating in Romania since 2016 and hosts approximately 200 soldiers. Moscow has repeatedly stated that the United States' Aegis Ashore missile defense system stationed in Romania threatens Russia's security.
In November, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the United States for moving eastward and building up its military presence near Russia's borders. Washington, in turn, has claimed that the ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe are aimed primarily at countering threats from Iran and North Korea.