North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members keep wary eye on Trump's mood

Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

Trump has taken particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russian Federation to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that member nations meet their pledge to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

"We believe it (the pipeline) would undermine Europe's overall energy security and stability by providing Russian Federation another tool for the political coercion of European countries, especially Ukraine".

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed. Trump tweeted an hour before the second day of the summit got under way.

During the meetings, he demanded via tweet that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend four per cent of their gross domestic product on defence - a bigger share than even the United States now pays, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statistics. "President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations". And it comes just days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.


"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.

From abandoning the Iran nuclear deal to putting higher tariffs on European Union steel imports and threatening more on cars, Trump has undermined European priorities in the Middle East, on free trade and on combating climate change.

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May sounded a call for solidarity among the allies, saying, "As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behaviour for this to become a reality".

There are flashpoints between the two leaders on a series of fronts - including Mr Trump's jibe that Britain is "in turmoil" and praise of Boris Johnson after his resignation over the PM's Brexit plans.

Although Trump administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected. "And I know that's valued very highly over here and people can disagree strongly and still go out to dinner". So I think the secretary-general likes Trump.

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