President Donald Trump has said Germany "owes vast sums of money" to Nato and should also pay the US more for defending it.
He made the remarks on Twitter, saying he had a "great meeting" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday. A video of the meeting showed him appearing to deny Merkel a handshake during a photo opportunity.
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
...vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
The leaders met for the first time yesterday, after spending the past months trading criticism of each other on the likes of immigration and trade.
Before his inauguration, Trump had called Nato obsolete, though he has since mellowed that stance, telling leaders in Europe it remains of strategic importance.
Five members including the US and the UK currently reach Nato's benchmark of spending two per cent of GDP on defence; Germany spends 1.23 per cent though this is set to increase.
Trump's latest outburst comes after his team caused a stir with unsubstantiated claims that GCHQ had carried out surveillance on the President.
A GCHQ spokesperson said: "Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wire tapping' against the then President- elect are nonsense.
“They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited a report by a pundit on Fox News that the UK’s government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on Trump after he was elected.
The US later made an apology to Britain, though Trump went on to seem unrepentant.
He said the White House shouldn't be blamed for quoting a Fox News analyst. "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television," Trump said in a press conference with Angela Merkel yesterday. "You shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox."