MILITARY

German defense minister visits US, calls NATO demands 'fair'

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen during an enhanced honor cordon at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen during an enhanced honor cordon at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen leaves the Pentagon following a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen leaves the Pentagon following a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)  (The Associated Press)

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosts an enhanced honor cordon for German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosts an enhanced honor cordon for German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf  (The Associated Press)

Germany's defense minister agrees with America's call for European NATO members to shoulder more of the burden in the alliance.

Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that the Trump administration's call — which echoes long-standing U.S. policy — is "a fair demand." Von der Leyen met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

Berlin is keen to strengthen ties with its trans-Atlantic ally after U.S. President Donald Trump set alarm bells ringing by calling NATO "obsolete" last month. Germany relied on U.S. military protection during the Cold War and has remained far below the defense expenditure threshold of 2 percent expected of NATO members.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany will increase its military spending going forward.