Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed that Germany was "controlled" by Russian Federation because "60 to 70% of their energy" comes from the country.

"We have agreed to be committed to the pledge to increase the defense spending to 2 percent, let's start with that", the secretary general said.

Alluding to Trump's comments about Germany, Kerry also said that "European energy security is an important topic for allies to discuss, even when they disagree".

"You can try and be a bean counter and look at exactly how much this and how much money that, but the fundamental question is - is what you're doing actually making a difference?" he added.

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

Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Belgium Tuesday for the summit, ahead of meetings later this week with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain and Vladimir Putin in Finland.

HORSLEY: Well, I think it's a little bit fragile.

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May sounded a call for solidarity among the allies, saying, "As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality".

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"I am pleased to have this opportunity to be here for this exchange of views", she said, through a translator.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop past year". But European states do not pay the United States for their defense, as Mr. Trump seems to imagine.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending. As cameras left the room, Trump assured reporters his tough tone will encourage North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to pony up: "I have great confidence they'll spend more". In a tweet Tuesday, he said: "Will they reimburse the US?" But Germany, Europe's biggest economy, spends just 1.24 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent for the US."These countries have to step it up - not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

"President Trump's brazen insults and denigration of one of America's most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment".

She said: "I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

Despite the friendly rhetoric, U.S. -Russia relations have soured since Trump's presidency.

Trump didn't blame Stoltenberg for the state of affairs, however.

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