UK leader Theresa May says 'special relationship' with the US means there can also be disagreements

  • Speaking in an exclusive interview at 10 Downing Street, May said there are "some" issues where she doesn't see eye-to-eye with President Donald Trump, but added that "the special relationship" would continue and "endure long into the future."
  • The U.K. is against the U.S.'s decision to implement metal tariffs against the EU, with the Trump administration claiming that the imports are a national security threat.

The close relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. means the two countries can disagree on certain issues but still find solutions, British Prime Minister Theresa May told CNBC Wednesday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview at 10 Downing Street, May said there are "some" issues where she doesn't see eye-to-eye with President Donald Trump, but added that "the special relationship" would continue and "endure long into the future."

"We disagree on the steel and aluminum tariffs that have been imposed on the European Union, and the U.K. within that. And we disagree on the nuclear deal in Iran," she told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick.

"The point about the relationship is that we're able to have those disagreements and talk those through. But that special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. continues and I think will endure long into the future."

The U.K. is against the U.S.'s decision to implement metal tariffs against the EU, with the Trump administration claiming that the imports are a national security threat. Trump's decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran also upset the U.K., who said the deal had been working.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a press conference at the end of the second day of the G7 Summit on June 9, 2018 in La Malbaie, Canada.
Leon Neal | Getty Images
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a press conference at the end of the second day of the G7 Summit on June 9, 2018 in La Malbaie, Canada.

However, May outlined other issues where the relationship with the U.S. has shown healthier signs. The U.S. expelled some Russian diplomats in the wake of a nerve agent attack in the U.K., which British officials blamed on Russian authorities.

May also said the summit with North Korea this week had been an "important" moment worldwide.

"I welcomed what has taken place in Singapore," she said, "What Trump has done is important not just for that region but for the world as well."

Trump-Kim summit

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Tuesday in Singapore. The two leaders signed an agreement that vows to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

However, critics have complained that the deal is unclear about how international authorities will verify that the rogue state is taking the necessary steps to end its nuclear program, and that it also doesn't give a timeframe for the denuclearization.

Trump had started the week in Canada at a G-7 meeting. The meeting ended with an intense exchange of words between the host nation and the U.S.

Trump revoked his support for a joint statement after the meeting, following comments from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The latter said though he did not want to "punish American workers," but he would be pressing ahead with retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.

As a result, Trump called Trudeau "dishonest and weak" and warned the other G-7 leaders that retaliation against his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, first announced in March, would be a mistake.