Trump Walks Back NATO Threats, Takes 'Total Credit' For Spending Boost

NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

Trump's Marine One departure from the ambassador's residence was met by jeers from demonstrators banging pots and pans, and another pack of protesters lined roads near the palace.

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy and defence.

President Donald Trump reiterated the US commitment to NATO Thursday after a contentious meeting in which he said allies agreed to raise defense spending by $33 billion amid his reported threats to withdraw.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited a "new sense of urgency, and all allies agreed to redouble their efforts".

But hours later, both Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron denied they ever promised to do any of that.

As for Johnson, Trump said: "I think he would be a great prime minister. But I'm going to a pretty hot spot right now - right? - with a lot of resignations".

Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the USA ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are staying in London on July 12.

The latest tariffs Trump has proposed, on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods, would raise the price of 40 percent of China's exports to the US and begin to shrink the $375 billion trade surplus Beijing ran in 2017.

Trump told reporters that allies had agreed to meet defense spending figures faster than previously planned, and said that financial commitments would increase in the future.

The reason is that the 2 percent standard came from a collective defense agreement against a formidable foe (the Soviet Union) that doesn't exist anymore. And we made clear, well, I made clear for myself and others also made it clear, that we are on this path, which is in our own interest and can make us overall stronger. Some NATO nations, like Turkey, have even chosen to buy Russian over USA arms in recent years, a fact that doesn't sit well with the administration. "And the United States is being treated much more fairly".

When asked if Trump said he would leave North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unless the wealthiest economies hit 2 percent GDP by January or "we are going to do our own thing", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not comment directly on the president's reported statements but insisted he didn't offer a new deadline for allies to meet the 2 percent standard.

In a taut exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump said Nord Stream 2 - an offshore pipeline that would deliver gas to Germany directly from Russian Federation via the Baltic Sea - leaves the Western military alliance's largest and wealthiest European member "totally controlled" by and "captive to" Russian Federation.

And he praised himself for getting them all to sign up to bigger defence budgets and sharing the financial burden more equally.

Most had written off the day as much duller than the previous - when the US President had lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a captive of Russian Federation.

So far, five countries - the US, UK, Estonia, Greece and Latvia have reached the target.

According to the report, "In 2017, the US accounted for 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP and 71.7 percent of its combined defense expenditure".

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