>> And we view there are a number->> The decision of the US secretary of state to skip what would have been his first NATO summit, renewing concern among European allies over President Donald Trump's commitment to the alliance. US officials have said Rex Tillerson plans to join Trump in Florida for meetings with China's president instead.
A spokesperson says Tillerson will meet ministers from most of NATO and other countries this week to discuss the coalition against Islamic State. But it also means he may now visit Moscow in April before formally meeting the alliance. Now, some European diplomats say the decision could undo the administration's attempts to smooth over Trump's rocky relations with the alliance.
Malcolm Chalmers is with one of Britain's leading institutes for NATO strategy.>> I think particularly in a situation where there has been a lot of unease about President Trump's remarks, throwing into doubt the US commitment to European security. That I think has created quite a lot of uneasiness about whether we're too dependent on a power which is not necessarily going to be there on the day.
To the extent that the United States under this administration reaffirms in a convincing way, it's kind of up to NATO, then those concerns may go away.>> A former NATO official, speaking anonymously, said the alliance offered to change the dates for Tillerson but his State Department rebuffed the notion.
Russia's foreign ministry has refused to confirm or deny the reported visit. But if it goes ahead, it will certainly raise eyebrows. Two former US officials say it could fuel feelings that Trump is putting big powers before old allies.