Trump attending second day of meetings at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

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In a pointed apparent reference to Mr Trump's upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Tusk noted that European military spending "is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending".

Trump had begun the day by attacking Merkel's government, accusing Germany of becoming "captive" to Russian interests through overreliance on its gas exports. They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of their oil and gas from Russian Federation.

"I welcome President Trump's forthcoming meeting with President Putin: open channels of communication between the United States and Russian Federation are key to managing the risks of confrontation", she planned to say, according to the spokesman.

Here's why Trump is upset. 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 it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia". "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Italy.

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"I've 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", she said.

Trump told reporters during brief remarks at the end of the meeting that the two had a "very, very good relationship" and congratulated Merkel on her "tremendous success".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. Trump tweeted on Tuesday en route to Brussels.

Indeed, the steady drumbeat of negative comments from Trump is beginning to overwhelm reassurances from the rest of the United States national security establishment, said James M. Goldgeier, a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. NATO, the 70-year-old intergovernmental military alliance that's devoted to collective worldwide security, has come under attack from Trump.

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.

Tusk also urged European NATO members to spend more on defense, but noted: "Money is important but generating solidarity is more important". We're protecting France. We're protecting all of these countries.

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"Putin is emboldened pretty much with or without Trump". NATO acknowledges an "over-reliance" on the U.S. What NATO partners dispute is Trump's repeated suggestion that the U.S. gets little in return for its commitment to defend member countries if threatened.

But the future of the most successful military alliance in history will not be vouchsafed simply through increased spending and "equitable burden-sharing".

The possibility Trump could scale back the defense of countries that fall short of 2% "would really be a threat and that would be new".

"The idea is that every country should have strong armed forces on its own, so that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation really just is for common defense - it shouldn't be that there are free riders who spend nearly nothing but say, 'I'm a member of an alliance'". Their concerns had already set in ahead of Trump's arrival on the continent, following weeks during which the US President has increasingly and vociferously aired out his grievances against many of them. Sestanovich shared a joke going around the Pentagon that Trump is tweaking Mattis' "Mad Dog" nickname and now calls the secretary "Moderate Dog Mattis".

Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Merkel's characterization of the relations was slightly less rosy than Trump's.

Trump has had a less than friendly relationship with Merkel since the start of his presidency.

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"Lots of American presidents and administrations have made that point and pleaded with allies to increase spending".

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