German Defense Minister Visits US, Calls NATO Demands 'Fair'

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

BERLIN -- Germany's defense minister agrees with America's call for European NATO members to shoulder more of the burden in the alliance.

Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that the Trump administration's call, which echoes long-standing U.S. policy, is "a fair demand." Von der Leyen met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

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Berlin is keen to strengthen ties with its trans-Atlantic ally after President Donald Trump set alarm bells ringing by calling NATO "obsolete" last month. Germany relied on U.S. military protection during the Cold War, and has remained far below the defense expenditure threshold of 2 percent expected of NATO members.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany will increase its military spending going forward.

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