Trump changes tone in Merkel meeting after earlier slamming Germany

Baltic leaders fearful of any repeat of Russia's annexation of Crimea called for unity as they arrived at the summit, while Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said his country was "one of the good guys" because he was increasing defense spending.

The comments received a swift and sharp rebuke from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron also played down Trump's words as rhetoric, saying "it is not a new demand".

Stoltenberg, who is a former Norwegian prime minister and not German, told Trump that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War, the Post reported.

On "America's Newsroom", former US ambassador to the United Nations and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said meeting with Putin is the right move for Trump.

Trump played up the success of the bilateral meeting and the potential to resolve issues.

"I am pleased to have this opportunity to be here for this exchange of views", she said, through a translator. But after a day of Trump throwing political hand grenades at Germany, he and Merkel gave a cool and cordial read out of their private meeting. "We look forward to the meeting you're going to have with President Putin". Ms. Merkel has been considerably tougher on Russian President Vladimir Putin than Mr. Trump has; unlike the US president, she has never suggested acceptance of Russia's forcible annexation of Crimea.

They might not have agreed with the US president calling Germany a "captive" of Russian Federation, but some Republican lawmakers on Wednesday said they believe Donald Trump is right to shame one of America's most important allies into spending more on defense. "We are talking about trade, we have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Trump said with Merkel sitting at his side.

After Trump's cordial reception of Merkel in the afternoon, it seemed Trump avoided the kind of diplomatic disaster he set in motion at the G7 in June.

While U.S. defense spending makes up 70 percent of combined allied governments' military budgets, just 15 percent of U.S. expenditure is spent in Europe on NATO-related defense. According to Stoltenberg, eight countries would meet the 2 percent target this year and a "majority" put forward plans to do so by 2020 - compared to only three countries who were meeting the commitment in 2014.

With Trump's much-anticipated summit with Putin just five days away, Stoltenberg appeared to get in a shot of his own, telling Trump other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders are "looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".