Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were ever attacked.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018.

During the summit, Trump reportedly broke diplomatic protocol by calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name, saying "Angela, you need to do something about this", a source told Reuters.

"I have to tell you that the atmosphere last night at dinner was very open, was very constructive and it was very positive", Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the president of Croatia, told reporters.

Still, three senior US officials told Reuters that no one in the Pentagon, including Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, knows what Trump might say in Helsinki.

All 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders including Trump backed a joint statement committing themselves to greater "burden sharing" and to the alliance's founding commitment that an attack on one member is an attack on them all - with no mention of the four per cent.

Germany, one of America's closest allies, is doubling its energy imports from Russia's Gazprom just as the USA continues to spend billions of dollars to protect Germany and the rest of Europe from Russian Federation.

"Everyone in the room thanked me", he said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We should first get to two percent", adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target.

"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".

"We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

The President said: "We are supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday "may be the easiest" part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

Trump's biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 per cent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.

"The president came out of Singapore saying he'd ended the nuclear threat from North Korea", said one US official, referring to Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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