‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is insisting that Georgia will one day join the world's biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic.

Striking a strident tone at the summit, Trump's aspirational target of 4% of gross domestic product was above the United States own spending on defence.

Trump has berated members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked.

The United States and Canada swung sharply on Sunday (10 June) toward a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Trump called him "very dishonest and weak".

The summit declaration signed by the 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders reiterated the alliance's full support for the goal of "complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

Germany, one of America's closest allies, is doubling its energy imports from Russia's Gazprom just as the US continues to spend billions of dollars to protect Germany and the rest of Europe from Russian Federation.

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that, "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly pushed back.

Liu Xia, wife of late China dissident, left for Berlin
That prompted Western governments, including Germany and the United States, to renew their calls for Beijing to release Liu Xia. While in Beijing in May, German chancellor Angela Merkel met with the wife of a detained human rights lawyer.

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.

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise. A source close to Macron said Trump had voiced his "personal attachment" to Europe and gave "rather positive and constructive messages" to his allies.

The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the United States pays more than others.

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening", Trump said, adding that, in response, European countries agreed to up their spending.

"I think once the trend started changing in 2014, that created momentum even before he became president", says American University's Martin.

The 29 allies are due to restate a commitment to try to spend two percent of GDP on defense by 2024, according to excerpts of their final summit declaration seen by AFP. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond. We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the U.S. into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

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