The United States will reduce its troop strength in Germany from the nearly 52,000 at present to 25,000, President Donald Trump has said in Washington.
In an interaction with reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump attributed the move to high costs and Germany being "delinquent" in its payment to NATO.
"We have 52,000 soldiers in Germany. That's a tremendous amount of soldiers. It's a tremendous cost to the United States and Germany, as you know, is very delinquent in their payments to NATO.
"They are paying one per cent and they're supposed to be a two per cent. And then two percent is very low. It should be much more than that. So they are delinquent of billions of dollars," Trump alleged.
"So, we're putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers. We'll see what happens, but Germany has not been making payments. In addition to that, I was the one that brought it up. Everybody talks about Trump with Russia. Well, I brought this up a long time ago. Why is Germany paying Russia billions of dollars for energy and then we're supposed to protect Germany from Russia? How does that work? It doesn't work," the US president said.
US soldiers, he said, are paid well. "They live in Germany. They spend vast amounts of money in Germany. Everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany. So, Germany takes. And then on top of it, they treat us very badly on trade. We have trade with the EU, Germany being the biggest member, and very, very badly on trade and we are negotiating with them on that. But right now, I'm not satisfied with the deal they want to make," Trump said.
"They've cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars over the years on trade," he said.
The US protects them and then they take advantage of America on trade, the president said.
"So we are working on a deal with them, but it's very unfair and I would say by far, the worst abuser is Germany," he said.