At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the U.S. on trade and needed to immediately boost spending.
Trump kicked off the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Wednesday with pointed attacks against the member states, demanding they immediately increase their defense spending, a criticism he's made many times in the past.
Of Nato's 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia. The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. In a series of tweets from the Belgian capital, Mr. Trump said, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".
The US president accused Germany of only spending "a little bit over 1 percent" of its economic output on defence compared to the 4.2 percent spent by the US "in actual numbers".
Trump's pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has appeared eager to improve relations with Putin and dismissed the US intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election to help Trump win.
"These two people are very different, very interestingly different".
Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit atmosphere was "much calmer than everyone had said" and he saw a will to maintain the unity of the alliance, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Trump was "constructive". I think that's very inappropriate.
"This has been going on for decades and it is disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're going to make it fair".
Praising new initiatives to build capacity, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg estimated that as much as 266 billion additional USA dollars would be spent by European allies and Canada on defense by 2024.
"The United States is spending far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some". House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that "NATO is indispensable".
Mr Trump, who landed in Belgium during the middle of the football-mad nation's World Cup semi-final match, will later head to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union.
Mr Trump made more conciliatory remarks on Wednesday after he and Mrs Merkel met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit, saying defence spending and trade had been discussed.
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