Trump crosses swords with Merkel on trade, defence

US President Donald Trump shares a word with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi

Following Trump's trip, Merkel says Europe can't rely on US anymore

President Donald Trump took to social media to blast Germany, a key USA ally that he asserted was unfairly benefiting from trade and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).

"This is a healthy relationship".

Merkel's speech in Munich could be seen as a reminder to Trump that the decision will have real implications for his relationship with Berlin and other partners, officials said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the two leaders get along "very well" and are growing a "bond" they had during their talks in the G7.

Trump sent out a tweet directed towards Germany Tuesday morning, continuing to fuel concern of the relationship between the USA and Germany. "This is a new situation - we lived for decades in the certainty that we could rely on each other as partners in an alliance, and this certainty no longer exists today".

Germany unleashed a volley of criticism yesterday (29 May) against US President Donald Trump, slamming his "short-sighted" policies that have "weakened the West" and hurt European interests.

For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who often pulls her rhetorical punches, her weekend message signaling a shift in the post-war order was uncharacteristically blunt.

Merkel did not mention Trump specifically, but she made it clear that her realization had come "in the last few days".

Falling back on his most trusted form of communication, US President Donald Trump issued trade threats against one-time close ally, Germany, Tuesday morning. Mr. Trump also indicated that the U.S under him may withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Trump took to Twitter early in the day in the United States to attack Germany, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel ramped up her doubts about the reliability of Washington as an ally.

"The belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration", said Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany's University of Regensburg.

"I think those countries that will be the most concerned by Trump's failure to reaffirm Article Five will be those that are located slightly further east, that are also part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

Where Europe's relationship with the USA during the Cold War and in its immediate aftermath had a strong emotional component, Merkel's comments suggest she now sees them as more "pragmatic and transactional", said Sylke Tempel, an expert with the German Council on Foreign Relations.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker "supports building bridges", spokesman Margaritis Schinas said, while the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Twitter he "agreed" with Merkel that "Europe's destiny is in our own hands".

Each of these incidents and others displayed a decided lack of diplomacy on the part of the US President and, according to the US official, caused more than one G7 leader to call Trump's appearance a "disaster".

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