Trump insists he has 'very good' relations with Merkel

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Merkel Recalls Own East German Youth in Riposte to Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to hit back at US President Donald Trump's claim that "Germany is a captive of Russia" by drawing on her own upbringing in Soviet-controlled East Germany.

"They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them", Trump added.

US President Donald Trump told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders on Wednesday that they should increase their defence spending to 4% of their country's economic output, double the group's current goal of two percent. "This has been going on for decades, for decades, it's disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

However, the president was not deterred, saying: "I think that these countries have to step it up not over a 10-year period, they have to step it up immediately". In 2017, the estimated to have spent more than 69% of the cumulative total.

He has repeatedly urged NATO European members to increase their defense spending.

Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium. "And maybe we'll speak to him when I get over there", he said.

"We're supposed to protect Germany but they're getting their energy from Russian Federation. We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

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The president then moved on to Germany's failure to pay for its defense. "This has been brought up by other presidents".

A joint declaration said: "We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership".

How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?

Trump also criticised former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's role in businesses controlled by Russian gas giant Gazprom, which is responsible for gas supplies from Russia to Germany, the IAR news agency reported. The White House has accused European allies of "freeriding" on Washington's defense capabilities, as only five of the alliance's members actually meet the 2 percent target.

"So I think the secretary-general likes Trump".

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending.

"So, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".

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