Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump keeps up spending demands at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but turns on charm

Trump keeps up spending demands at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but turns on charm

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted Wednesday that member countries have already been increasing their defense spending.

He said the USA "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that members meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

In his statement posted on Twitter, Kerry said Trump's broadside against an American ally had weakened the United States.

Trump continued the attack through the day after first raising it at a breakfast meeting. But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

"'What's more surprising, the fact that the President Trump is calling them out on that or that previous presidents haven't?" he asked.

The US president was similarly effusive when he met German chancellor Angela Merkel. "On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent [on defense]... and I think that is inappropriate also", Trump said.

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Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she had "experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good". Trump and Merkel later held businesslike talks on the sidelines of the summit.

"I think we should first get to 2 percent, focus on that now. the good thing is that we are moving to that", NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told reporters, without speaking directly to Trump's comments.

Bloomfield says the pipeline deal allows Russian Federation to avoid Ukraine and shut them off without affecting the rest of the flow to Europe, putting Ukraine at a disadvantage.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold.

TRUMP: "You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France". At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate".

"We call upon [North Korea] to fully implement its worldwide obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related programmes", the statement said.

Footage from the gathering at the two-day summit appears to underscore the president's isolation from the group-with his comments on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation surely doing little to ease relations with fellow members.

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