Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

But Mr Trump has intensified the demands to such an extent that allies worry it could damage North Atlantic Treaty Organisation morale and play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who they accuse of trying to destabilise the West.

US President Donald Trump has told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany is "captive" to Russian Federation because it is importing energy from there.

Mr Trump appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's north-eastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

And she said she expected Trump to recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO - Article 5 - which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

Trump repeatedly pressed Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary general, on why the US continued to pay money to the military alliance while countries continue to purchase energy from Moscow.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he hoped Trump avoided a repeat of his G7 summit in Quebec City, when his demands on reducing trade surpluses with the United States prompted a bitter debate with allies. Gardner responded by flatly denying Trump actually meant what he said.

Mr Stoltenberg - apparently startled by the ferocity of the USA president's assault - shot back as he reminded Mr Trump of NATO's common cause.

Some NATO members point out that only 15% of America's defence spending goes on defending Europe, and that the emphasis should be on adapting NATO for new threats, not simply spending more money on defence.

"I look forward to having words with President Trump, having a conversation with him, as I always do", the prime minister told reporters before he left Latvia following a whirlwind visit to the Baltic State, where Canada has 455 troops deployed as part of NATO's Operation Reassurance.

Some alliance members have privately voiced concern that Trump might also pull out of a major upcoming military exercises, including one, Trident Juncture, scheduled for October.

Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.

He has sent a string of tweets over the past few days criticising the alliance - saying: "NATO must pay MORE and the USA must pay LESS". The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the US and some other European Union members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe.

"I think these countries have to step it up, not over a 10-year period, but they have to step it up immediately", Trump said, pointing to Germany in particular as a "rich country" that "could increase (defense spending) immediately tomorrow and have no problem".

"Dear America, appreciate your allies - after all, you don't have that many", Tusk added, and also urged European countries to "spend more on your defense because everyone respects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped". "Who would think", the president said.

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis pointed out that all countries in Europe were using Russian gas.

President Trump has often praised Vladimir Putin's leadership since the U.S. President was elected in 2016. "Let's make sure that we're living up to our expectations and obligations, '" Gardner said.