When Merkel met Trump

Katherine Zappone

"Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.", Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.

Trump has also anxious United States allies by criticising the military alliance as "obsolete" and failing to meet the challenge posed by Islamic terror groups. He accused her of "ruining Germany" by accepting Syrian refugees and frequently called Democratic rival Hillary Clinton "America's Angela Merkel".

Merkel opened by making an apparent dig at the new American president even as the two look to fix what has been a strained relationship during their meeting Friday in Washington.

Though the two didn't shake hands while cameras were in the room, the president did shake her hand at other times during her visit - here's a handshake upon her arrival.

During a joint news conference, Trump accused Germany of unfair trade practices and ripped into Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, demanding they pay back "vast sums of money from past years".

When a German reporter asked Trump if he regrets any of his commentary on Twitter, Trump said, "Very seldom".

Prior to his inauguration, Mr Trump declared North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "obsolete" but has since modified his stance, telling European leaders the alliance remains of strategic importance.

Germany, whose militaristic past has led it traditionally to be reticent on defence matters, now spends 1.2 per cent of GDP.

Trump also recently made a jab that Germany's strong economy is only due to a now weak Euro.

Nato, trade and Ukraine were high on the agenda, but the focus was on how two leaders with contrasting ideas and leadership styles would interact. Germany has always been one of those countries: Even with recent budget increases, it is still spending well less than 2 percent of gross domestic product on its military, the agreed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation sum.

Merkel faces Trump for the handshake, but Trump. just kind of stares into space, ignoring her completely. Considering the healthy relationship Germany has had with United States, world leaders around the world must not have expected such an "awkard" meeting between USA president Trump and Merkel.

"At least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said in response to a question from a German reporter, referencing a secret program revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

When the topic moved to trade, Trump said the US would do "fantastically well" in its trade relations with Germany.

AFP/GETTYDonald Trump and Angela Merkel body language: Which of the pair showed the most power?Related articles Picture one: Angela Merkel displays a "genuine" smile

It is believed who ever guides the other through and pats them on the back is the more powerful.

However, she had close relations with Mr Trump's predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and is likely to seek a strong working relationship with him despite major policy differences and wariness in Germany about the former NY businessman.

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