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Trump will focus on Russia's 'malign' activity at summits

Trump will focus on Russia's 'malign' activity at summits

Trump accused Merkel of pursuing oil and gas deals with Russian Federation that provide Moscow with "billions and billions of dollars" while looking to the United States to protect Germany from Russia's military.

Christian Lindner, head of the pro-business Free Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk in an interview that he did not trust Trump, and his actions on trade and in the security arena were not in the United States' long term interest.

Her comments come just weeks after Trump charged that America is "the piggy bank that (NATO) likes to take from", and "we like to help out, but it helps them, they're in Europe".

She said she expected unanimous agreement among NATO's 29 members on proposals to reform the alliance command structure, increase readiness for possible threats from Russian Federation on NATO's eastern flank, add a new training mission for Iraq and increase counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

Spanning both events is the biannual Farnborough air show in the United Kingdom, where defense companies and allied nations toggle between the welcome news of increased European defense spending and deeper cooperation against the Russian threat, and the conflicting messages sent from Washington over its commitments to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and existing trade agreements.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the USA representative to NATO, said the major theme of the NATO summit would be the trans-Atlantic alliance's "strength and unity", despite repeated criticisms by Trump of alliance members who have yet to meet a commitment to boost their defense spending.

Trump says US to meet soon with Europe on trade
U.S. allies are upset with Trump after he imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Trump , during the photo-op, announced he would soon be meeting with European Union official to discuss the issue.

Regional experts have questioned the success of the Trump-Kim meeting, in which the president agreed to suspend US military exercises with South Korea but appeared to get little in return. So it's understandable for the USA to air frustration and ask European nations to do more - especially as some states are yet to meet their standard 2 per cent obligation. All are former Soviet client states: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Trump's upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, has exacerbated concerns as well.

But Hutchinson, and the US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, gave upbeat assessments of the upcoming meetings.

In June, he sent letters to several allies complaining they are not abiding by a 2014 commitment to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on national defense.

"You can't solve problems if you are not talking about them", said Huntsman.

The White House declined to say if and how Trump might punish the countries.

In the call, a senior administration official defended the decision for the one-on-one interaction, stating that it is the direction Trump has deemed best.


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