NATO Summit Overshadowed by Defense Spending Spat

Trump brands Germany a “captive of Russia,” days before he meets Putin

"They got rid of their coal plants".

US officials have told Reuters Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

But for the US president to say "Germany is a captive nation of Russian Federation, that's just a gross insult to [German Chancellor Angela Merkel ] and the German people", Nicholas Burns told CNBC on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump accused Germany on Wednesday of being a "captive" of Russian Federation due to its energy reliance and its support for the plan to double capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine.

NATO's Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used "very direct language" but that all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were agreed that the cost of defense spending must be spread around and that previous year had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

"I'm very pleased to have this opportunity for this exchange about the economic future and migration and the future of trade relations", Merkel said. "And I think we have to talk to Germany about it".

While U.S. defense spending makes up 70 percent of combined allied governments' military budgets, just 15 percent of U.S. expenditure is spent in Europe on NATO-related defense.

He said: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

"We're protecting everybody, and yet we're paying a lot of money to protect", Trump said.

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The Kremlin hopes to increase the dependence of Germany and Western Europe on Russian gas while depriving Ukraine and other inconvenient states of the transit fees Russia must pay to use current pipelines.

"We're discussing military expenditure. talking about trade", Trump told reporters who were allowed into the meeting room.

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

Though the insult will hardly engender warmth from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump is due to meet later today, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen seemed relatively unperturbed. He added the US and Germany have a good relationship.

Lieu went one step further, drafting an illustrated message to mock the president for his hostile comments to US allies.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the U.S. into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

"We call upon [North Korea] to fully implement its global obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related programmes", the statement said.

Throughout the day, leaders were peppered with questions about Trump's behavior and whether or not they agreed with his position on Germany.

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