On Saturday, shortly after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump claimed Germany owes "vast sums of money to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & the United States".
"Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is unfair to the United States".
In what could go down in history as one of the most embarrassing moments in politics, President Donald Trump refused to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is also known as the most powerful woman in the world, during their first official meeting.
"There is no debt account at Nato", Ms von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend two per cent of their economic output on defence by 2024 exclusively to Nato.
"There is no account where debts are registered with NATO", Von der Leyen, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in a statement. The figure is now at 1.23 percent, though Germany has been raising defense spending and Merkel has stressed its commitment to reaching the target by 2024.
During the White House meeting, Merkel pledged to continue to increase Germany's defense budget and reaffirmed her country's commitment to the 2 percent goal by 2024.
"Defence spending also goes into United Nations peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against Isis terrorism", Ms von der Leyen said.
"What we all want is a fair burden sharing", von der Leyen said. "These nations must pay what they owe".
German defence spending is set to rise by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018 - a figure that is projected to represent 1.26 per cent of economic output, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.
"The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO", Daalder continued. "But it is a process, and it is a process that the United States of America wanted. and we can not simply cast off this process from one day to the next".