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Donald Trump: NATO allies should double defence spend goal

Donald Trump: NATO allies should double defence spend goal

Mr Trump has been pressing member countries to spend more on defence, accusing them of passing the burden on to the US. The operator of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline construction hopes that the project will not be subject to political sentiment.

"NATO is the most successful alliance in history".

His demand that they raise their contributions to 4 percent came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week's Brussels summit.

Trump's aides seated around the table, including chief of staff John Kelly and the USA ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, looked visibly uncomfortable at points.

Trump did not say 70 to 90 percent of what.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended Germany against Trump's remarks Wednesday morning and will meet with Trump in the afternoon.

The president and his fellow critics argue that if America does less, others will do more - that its largess facilitates free riders.

She recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said she was "very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany".

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"We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation", he told Stoltenberg, "but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate".

He made the comments in a tense exchange with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg in front of TV cameras over a set piece breakfast that was meant to be a show of unity following Trump's eve-of-summit twitter protest over United States spending on the alliance. "I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", he told the president, trying to calm tensions. "Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

Trump rejected Stoltenberg's argument, saying Germany is "making Russian Federation richer" and again repeating his claim that Germany "is captive to Russian Federation", before White House officials intervened to usher reporters out of the room.

"But I have to bring it up because I think it's very unfair to our country, it's very unfair to our taxpayer", he said.

"Merkel said they also 'briefly touched upon the upcoming trips of the president", which include a visit to the United Kingdom and a Monday summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Merkel, who grew up in Communist-controlled East Germany, rejected the notion of being controlled by Russian Federation in remarks to reporters. The U.S. intelligence community, backed by a Republican-led Senate panel, has definitively concluded that Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump attend the evening reception and dinner at the 2018 NATO Summit.

Trump kept going, saying previous American leaders have mentioned the 2 percent issue but either did not understand like he does or "didn't want to get involved". US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond.