Donald Trump in new war of words with Angela Merkel

Updated: Jul 12, 2018, 09:09 IST | Agencies

German chancellor fires back in response to claim it is 'controlled' by Russia

Donald Trump in new war of words with Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Donald Trump. Pic/AFP

Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said Germany makes "independent decisions", firing back at US President Donald Trump after he accused Berlin of being a "captive" of Russia.

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union," Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, said as she arrived at a NATO summit.

"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions." Trump said that Germany was a "captive" and "controlled" by Russia because of the country's dependence on Russian gas, which is set to increase with the construction of a new pipeline.

Merkel also addressed repeated criticism from Trump over Germany's military spending, which is below the target level agreed by NATO. "Germany owes a lot to NATO," Merkel added. "The fact that reunification has taken place also has a great deal to do with NATO, but Germany is also doing a great deal for NATO.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to aim to raise their annual military spending to the equivalent of two per cent of gross domestic product. Figures released from NATO yesterday showed Europe's biggest economy spent just 1.24 per cent of GDP on defence, compared with 3.5 per cent for the US. Under new plans, Germany has announced its intention to raise its defence spending by 80 per cent over the next decade.

Trump launches new tariffs on China
The US listed the $200 billion in Chinese export goods that could be hit with tariffs as soon as September, escalating the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Donald Trump vowed to hit back after China retaliated for the first round of 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports that US imposed last week.

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