Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have agreed to spending increases

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said on Wednesday during a meeting with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general.

Trump said he had been "extremely unhappy" with allies' low levels of defense spending before the summit, but was pleased "they have substantially upped their commitment" during a "fantastic" unscheduled crisis meeting on Thursday morning.

He said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel runs the nation that is the "de facto leader of the EU" and that its failure to "properly fund NATO" should be criticized.

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said.

Dr. Claudia Major, a researcher at the German Institute for International Security affairs, said that Germany, in particular, does more for the alliance than spend on its own defense, including deploying troops to Afghanistan, "and eventually, two percent is an arbitrary measurement that does not say much about efficiency and output".

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We should first get to two percent", adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target.

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.

"I just don't know him very well".

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In a media conference where the US President again called himself a "very stable genius" and referenced his electoral college victory in the 2016 election, Mr Trump said he considers Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "competitor" rather than an enemy.

TRUMP: "Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, spends just 1.24%, compared with 3.5% for the US.

He also said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week would be the "easiest" of the meetings he'll have while he's overseas. Energy exports represent Russia's main source of revenue, and Trump argues that the pipeline undermines NATO's goal, as it's created to counter Russian aggression.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said.

The president again described Putin as a competitor, declining to characterize the longtime USA adversary as an enemy even as he said he hopes one day they might even be friends.

'All President Trump is doing is pointing out of hard facts and the hard truth and saying hey look we are going to change this.

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

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 Mr. Trump.

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