President Donald Trump is escalating his criticism of NATO while he is in Brussels for a summit with alliance leaders.
At a NATO summit in Brussels today, Trump suggested that US allies should commit to spending 4 per cent of their GDP on defence, up from the current goal of moving toward 2 per cent by 2024.
In a tweet today after a day of meetings, in which he lashed out at allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately boost spending.
Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2 per cent of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defence spending ambitions.
Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to. Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent. So let's start with that."
Around eight members of the 29-country military alliance are expected to reach the 2 per cent target this year.
Trump's biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 per cent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.
Contrary to Trump's assertion, NATO nations committed in 2014 to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence, but only by 2024.
Trump also tweets: "What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?" Trump earlier claimed that Germany was "totally controlled" and "captive to Russia" over a natural gas pipeline