Trump stokes tensions with United States allies ahead of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Flake's advice to Trump on Putin meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on July 11, 2018.

"Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a fiery on-camera exchange that was almost without precedent in the history of the post-World War II alliance.

Trump was referring to the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany.

President Trump has often praised Vladimir Putin's leadership since the U.S. President was elected in 2016.

His comments come only hours before he's due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on the side lines of the summit in Brussels.

The trade office's figures say U.S. imports from the European Union rang in at $592bn- leaving a $91bn goods and services trade deficit.

And he vowed not to be "taken advantage" of by the European Union, which he accuses of relying on the United States for defence while restricting USA imports into the bloc, the world's biggest market.

Of Nato's 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia.

European Council President Donald Tusk addressed Trump's criticism, telling the U.S. President to "appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many", at an E.U.

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On the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, European Council President Donald Tusk pushed back against Trump's constant criticism of European allies and urged him to remember who his friends are when he meets with Putin in Helsinki.

Only eight of the 29 NATO members are expected to reach the target of spending 2 percent or more of their GDP on their armed forces this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in February.

Indeed, at his first meeting of the day, Trump said the USA will not wait for an expansion in spending "over a 10-year period-they have to step it up immediately".

"Germany is captive of Russian Federation because it is getting so much of its energy from Russian Federation". The U.S.is projected to spend 3.5 percent of GDP on defense this year, down from 3.57 percent in 2017, while Canada is forecast to reduce such spending to 1.23 percent in 2018 from 1.36 percent.

Last month, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said that while USA politicians are accusing Europe of being dependent on Russian gas, Washington was force-feeding Europe its liquefied natural gas, which is three times more expensive than natural gas from Russia. But NATO diplomats say only two-thirds of the 28 allies, excluding the United States, have a realistic plan to hit that level by then.

'As you know, the special relationship we have to the United States is our longest and deepest defence and security relationship, so we will be talking about those issues but also talking about trade issues, ' she told a press conference to mark the end of the Western Balkans summit in London. "Just doesn't work!" he tweeted as he arrived in Brussels.

U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump's rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration - which the USA is expected to back - which will be the basis for the alliance's work over the coming years.

The 1.5 percent level forecast for NATO's European members in 2018 compares to 1.46 percent previous year, 1.44 percent in 2016 and 1.42 percent in 2015.

They will have a chance to see each other, Trudeau said Tuesday.

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