US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday NATO countries must immediately pay 2 percent of their country's economic output for defense, tying the issue to trade and energy in a Twitter post as he attended the alliance’s summit in Brussels.
Trump earlier told alliance leaders they should raise their defense spending to 4 percent of their gross domestic product, or GDP.
“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?" Trump wrote.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump make a statement to the press after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit in Brussels. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) and US President Donald Trump (C-R), flanked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) sit before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels. (Reuters)
Those comments underscored the risks to Trump’s strategy by dividing allies between those who spend more on defense and those who do not, such as Belgium, Spain, Italy and Luxembourg, but who contribute with troops to NATO missions.