Trump rails against Germany, demands allies double North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending

US President Donald Trump and First Lady of the US Melania Trump arrive for a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire- Jubelpark Park in Brussels

Trump rails against Germany, demands allies double NATO spending

As a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels began to wind down on Thursday, President Donald Trump claimed victory over defense spending and reaffirmed USA commitment to the alliance.

(Trump has not held a news conference in the USA in over a year).

Mr Trump insisted that "the USA commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains very strong, but primarily because of the spirit that everyone has, the amount of money they're willing to spend... the level of spirit in that room is incredible".

Trump is reported to have spoken of "grave consequences" if allies did not meet their 2 percent of GDP defense spending targets, saying that the United States could "go our own way" if his demands were not met.

Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor, James Bays, reporting from the Belgian capital, however, said that based on interviews with sources, "nothing it seems, in the closed-door meeting, was resolved".

Some NATO allies had not exactly heard the same conclusions as Trump around the table, and French President Emmanuel Macron immediately poured cold water on Trump's spending ambitions for other allies.

"Tremendous progress has been made, everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment, they're going to up it at levels they've never thought of before", Trump told a press conference before leaving for a visit to Britain. "It has been really awesome to see the level of spirit in that room".

He infuriated Chancellor Angela Merkel by claiming that the pipeline deal had left Germany a "captive" that was "totally controlled" by Moscow.

He also vowed to raise allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, amid an ongoing USA investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow.

In the same breath, he sounded a strongly conciliatory tone with the Russian leader despite the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Putin not only meddled in the 2016 elections to help Trump but also continues his cyberwar efforts going into the 2018 mid-terms.

The latest tariffs Trump has proposed, on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods, would raise the price of 40 percent of China's exports to the US and begin to shrink the $375 billion trade surplus Beijing ran in 2017.

Trump said he wanted "peace all over the world, that's my goal", and he wanted to achieve this by building up the military, with his dream to have the best military equipment in the world and never have to use it.

Others in the room, including the Lithuanian President whose country is among the most nervous of Russian ambitions, denied a suggestion that Trump had threatened to quit the alliance. "It could happen", Trump said.

If President Trump has any really close friends among America's European allies, they are few and far between, and dwindling faster than his job approval polls.

Trump's trip to Britain will test the bonds of the U.S. and U.K.'s special relationship.

Trump later tweeted and also confirmed during a press conference in Brussels that 4% percent should indeed be the ultimate target.

Earlier, Trump strode into NATO's new headquarters to shake hands with leaders - but only after publicly railing against Germany at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg.

"I believe through strength you get peace", he said. Tens of thousands of people are likely to protest in the British capital on Friday, while Trump is outside the city at May's country residence Chequers, before visiting Windsor to meet the Queen.

The emergency session came amid reports that Trump had threatened to leave the pact if allies didn't immediately up their spending.

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