Trump Says NATO Members Agreed to 'Substantially Up' Contributions

U.S. President Donald Trump right listens to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels Belgium Thursday

U.S. President Donald Trump closed out his chaotic two-day visit to NATO Thursday by declaring victory, claiming that member nations caved to his demands to significantly increase defence spending and reaffirming his commitment to the alliance.

US President Donald Trump said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries had agreed to increase their defence spending after he forced crisis talks over his mounting demands at a fractious summit in Brussels. "Stoltenberg gave us total credit, meaning me I guess", he told reporters.

The press conference concluded a testy two days in Brussels.

The US president described himself as a "very stable genius" for securing agreements for extra cash after years of the burden falling on America.

Duda also told reporters Thursday that the leaders' meetings were confidential and that he was surprised at other leaders who leaked details to the media.

He said: "There is a communique that was published yesterday".

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

The issue dominated the president's public remarks after he arrived in Brussels on Tuesday, striking fear among European officials that the president would question the US' role in the alliance.

"You know, the two per cent was a range, a goal, it wasn't something they were committed to".

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"I'm sorry, they're for White House staff", they were told as they tried to grab vacant seats at the front.

Trump has said next week's meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" part of his European tour. It's the ramifications of undermining the decades-old alliance - and threatening to leave it altogether - that has been cause for concern.

Another NATO diplomat said Trump trampled on protocol by pointing at some leaders he said were not spending enough and addressing Merkel by her first name, referring to her as "you, Angela".

German news agency DPA, Politico and The Times London reported the US President had openly threatened that the US would "do our own thing" unless the wealthiest allies were spending 2 per cent of their GDP on defence by January. "Some are at 2 percent, others have agreed definitely to go to 2 percent, and some are going back to get the approval - and which they will get - to go to 2 percent".

He says Canada - where current defence spending plans are only expected to reach 1.4 per cent of GDP - has promised to reverse a decline in military resources with an eye towards the two per cent target. But with Trump scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation on Monday, the gathering was dominated by wrangling over money.

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%!"

Then US president Barack Obama said at a press conference at the Wales summit the alliance would "reverse the decline of defence spending and rise to meet the challenges that we face in the 21st century".

It would be "impossible" for Trump to unilaterally pull out of NATO, Ben Hodges, a retired US lieutenant general who led the NATO Allied Land Command, told The House. Trump criticized her strategy on cutting ties to the European Union, cast doubt on whether he was willing to negotiate a new trade deal between Britain and the United States and praised May's political rival Boris Johnson.

He linked calls for higher defence spending to complaints about Germany's trade surplus and renewed a threat to raise tariffs on EU-made cars if trade terms do not change.

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