Merkel responds to Trump: 'I have witnessed' Germany under Soviet control

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures while speaking to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral breakfast Wednesday

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures while speaking to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral breakfast Wednesday

While the United States and Europe have historically been close military and economic allies, President Donald Trump has upended that order by repeatedly taking Europe to task over defense spending and trade while pursuing a closer U.S. relationship with adversary Russian President Vladimir Putin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel later responded defiantly, saying: "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're discussing military expenditure. talking about trade", Trump told reporters who were allowed in to the meeting room.

In 2018, the USA defense budget is $706 billion. "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025".

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium. American officials say the U.S.is itself short of that mark, spending 3.3 percent of its GDP on defense.

"The alliance is very important and I think there's ways of communicating our displeasure with things without trying to insult and break the alliance apart", said Corker. That is more than current USA spending as a proportion of GDP - and Pentagon budgets maintain bases and deploy fleets around the world, something that shouldn't be expected from Estonia or Spain. Germany is totally controlled by Russia, Trump said.

During the president's remarks, he suggested countries not only meet their minimum commitment of 2 percent but increase it to 4 percent, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary said in a statement.


While answering questions from reporters before the breakfast, Trump drew contrasts between his hard stance on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the positions of his predecessors.

"NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the US", Trump wrote.

"I don't understand why Germany would be so in favor of supporting that particular supply source instead of diversifying", said Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Germany should be committing 2 percent to defense like they agreed to at the Wales conference".

Brussels is the first stop of Trump's week-long European tour that will include a visit to Britain and a meeting in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Of Nato's 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia.

Trump said Germany's closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas.

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