Trump tells North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders to increase defense spend to 4 percent

Trump's White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters, claiming that it was not a new position for the US president.

According to NATO, American defense spending is down to 3.5 percent this year from an estimated 3.57 percent last year.

"We're protecting Germany, France and everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

Dr. Claudia Major, a researcher at the German Institute for International Security affairs, said that Germany, in particular, does more for the alliance than spend on its own defense, including deploying troops to Afghanistan, "and eventually, two percent is an arbitrary measurement that does not say much about efficiency and output". Europeans must spend more on defense.

Around eight members of the 29-country military alliance are expected to reach the 2 per cent target this year.

"It's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year from Russia", Trump said at the time.

The tone of their remarks contrasted with an earlier breakfast between Trump and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg, when the Republican president said Germany's reliance on Russian energy left it "in the control" of Moscow and Merkel later referred to her youth in Soviet-run East Germany to insist Berlin was now fully sovereign. "I think we have to talk to Germany about it".

"President Trump makes public adversaries out of our friends, and turns our adversary, who has been attacking America's democracy, into his fawned-over ally".

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying "I don't agree with that". But after a day of Trump throwing political hand grenades at Germany, he and Merkel gave a cool and cordial read out of their private meeting.

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The unexpected demand from Trump during a closed-door meeting of heads of state laid down a new, virtually unachievable marker for a peacetime military spending in an alliance already struggling to meet current defense spending commitments.

Later, Mr. Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel exchanged pleasantries for the cameras during a one-on-one meeting.

A White House spokeswoman said his remarks came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defence and were not a formal proposal.

Merkel responded with equally sedate remarks.

"I think it's fair to say that here in my office the team recognized what was coming and the importance of speaking out on it from my perspective and from the district's perspective", Curtis told Fox 13.

After Trump's cordial reception of Merkel in the afternoon, it seemed Trump avoided the kind of diplomatic disaster he set in motion at the G7 in June.

President Trump is so prone to rhetorical excess that he sometimes hurts his own case even when he's right.

Before the summit, European Union President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump for his "daily" criticisms of Europe, pointing out that the EU spends more on defense than Russian Federation and nearly as much as China, and telling him to "appreciate your allies".

'The U.S.is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade.

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