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Awkward: Merkel asks for a handshake, Trump doesn't respond

Awkward: Merkel asks for a handshake, Trump doesn't respond

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks as US President Donald Trump looks on during their joint news conference in the White House on Friday.

Trump also tweeted that despite "fake news" reports, he had a "great" meeting with Merkel.

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.

Shortly thereafter, a member of the German press asked Trump if he ever regretted any of his tweets.

During their press conference, Trump denied claims of isolationism and demanded fairness in U.S.'s trade deals with other countries.

Ulf Roeller: I mean, I think the German business and political leaders are really scared about Donald Trump because they have the feeling Donald Trump is not only threatening the German economy.

There were few public attempts at the jocularity leaders often use to leaven such encounters, except for a barbed reference Trump made that they had "in common, perhaps" the experience of surveillance by USA intelligence.

United Kingdom communications intelligence agency GCHQ rejected Mr Spicer's allegations as "nonsense". White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated Napolitano's comments - along with several other news articles which made claims about surveillance - at the White House press briefing on Thursday. The visit began cordially, with the pair shaking hands at the entrance of the White House. Which is why was she there in the first place?

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Trump did not defend the substance of his accusation on Friday afternoon.

He said Germany must stump up more money to the United States in order to cover the cost of the defence it provides.

Trump also reaffirmed the United States' "strong support" for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but reiterated his position that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies need to "pay their fair share" for the cost of defense.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump threatened higher import taxes for countries such as Germany that have a trade surplus over America.

Five members including the USA and the United Kingdom now reach Nato's benchmark of spending two per cent of GDP on defence; Germany spends 1.23 per cent though this is set to increase. German daily Bild wrote on its website: "Trump didn't want to give Merkel his hand in his office!" Trump's embrace of Russian Federation, both as a candidate and as president, has further unnerved European leaders, who favors a tough approach to Moscow, including continued economic sanctions for its conduct in Ukraine. "But this is something we will discuss", she said.

And when Time magazine chose her as its person of the year in 2015 instead of him, Mr Trump said she was "ruining Germany".

"Globalisation ought to be shaped in an open-minded way, but also in a fair way", she said. After almost a minute, Merkel turned to Trump. But US officials have publicly praised the alliance since Trump took office, and Merkel is among European leaders who have outlined steps to boost defense spending to the target level.

When asked about his accusation that former President Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 election, Trump tried to lighten the atmosphere at the joint news conference with Merkel.

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