Donald Trump tells Nato to pay double

AFP  GettyMelania Trump news Donald and his wife smiled as they walked off the plane

And the thing that is really important is that President Trump was nearly projecting what people say about him onto Germany today.

But Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters she had "experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union" and said her country today made "independent policies" and "independent decisions". Trump was referring to a 2015 agreement between Russian gas giant Gazprom and Germany to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea. As the United Kingdom grapples with its own future in the European Union, I hope that President Trump's visit will help to solidify the long friendship between our two great countries.

"I think we can cope with it", von der Leyen said.

The steady drum of anti-German rhetoric from the United States, one of the country's traditionally closest friends, has people wondering whether to get ready for a messy breakup.

"They will spend more", he later predicted. Because of me, they've raised about $40bn over the past year.

And with that, he went on to push allies at the summit to double their commitment on defence spending.

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The organization is asking all member states spend a minimum 2 percent of their GDP on defensive measures by 2024.

US President Donald Trump plans to promote US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports at a meeting next Thursday (6 July) in Warsaw with a dozen leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, a region heavily reliant on Russian supplies. Most NATO members are spending less than 2 percent, though more are moving in that direction.

Trump said: "If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russian Federation". Germans wouldn't agree with that. We're stronger together than apart.

While he then went over the top in saying "Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Mr. Trump's rant is an accurate summary of Berlin's role in the Nord Stream 2 project.

TRUMP: "We're protecting Germany".

Trump has promoted exports of USA natural gas to Europe as an alternative to Russian Federation as a supply source, although US gas is far more costly because of the expense of shipping it.

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Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.

She added that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance was one built "not because we like each other very much but because we have decided we have similar core values", even if administrations and governments differ from time to time. "They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

Trump said that "many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back". But the two appeared on good terms, with Trump joking about the fact that Macron had been asked about it. Just nine of the military alliance's 29 members are expected to reach or surpass that target this year.

Arriving at Nato, Ms Merkel sought to put her countries ties to the western alliance in historical context.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, pictured here among alliance leaders, struck a diplomatic note about Mr Trump's outspoken calls for other countries to live up to their goal of spending 2 per cent of their economic output on defence. According to the recent Commons report, Canada now provides about 6.6 per cent of NATO's common-funded budgets, making it the sixth-largest financial contributor to that budget among the member states.

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