(CNSNews.com) - In a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump said the two countries must continue to work together to defeat ISIS and protect its people from “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Most importantly, our two countries must continue to work together to protect our people from radical Islamic terrorism and to defeat ISIS. I applaud Chancellor Merkel for Germany’s contributions, both civilian and military, as a counter-ISIS coalition member,” he said.
“We also recognize that immigration security is national security. We must protect our citizens from those who seek to spread terrorism, extremism and violence inside our borders. Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the safety of our citizens must always come first, without question,” the president said.
Merkel has come under fire for Germany’s open door policy for Syrian refugees after four terrorist attacks involving refugees and asylum seekers within a two-week span in July 2016. The country took in more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone.
Merkel agreed that the U.S. and Germany “fight against Islamist terrorism.”
“Together, we fight against Islamist terrorism. Germany is going to step up its work and is going to continue its work in Afghanistan and also in Syria. We’re going to monitor the situation there very closely. We’re going to work on political solutions in Syria, but also in Libya -- what we talked about,” Merkel said.
Trump said he “reiterated” to Merkel his “strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.”
“Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe,” he said.
“During our meeting, I thanked Chancellor Merkel for the German government’s commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2 percent of GDP. I want to thank the Chancellor for her leadership in supporting NATO and its efforts in Afghanistan. This has come at significant cost, including the lives of over 50 German soldiers, whose sacrifice we greatly honor,” the president said.
Merkel said she was “gratified to know that the president had aligned how important he thinks NATO is.”
“NATO is of prime importance for us, and it was not without very good reason that we said during our summit meeting in Wales that also Germany needs to increase expenditure. We committed to this 2-percent goal until 2024. Last year, we increased our defense spending by 8 percent, and we’re going to work together again and again on this,” she said.
The two met with German and U.S. companies to discuss workplace development and vocational training.
“Germany has done an incredible job training the employees and future employees, and employing its manufacturing and industrial workforce. It’s crucial that we provide our American workers with a really great employment outlook, and that includes making sure that we harness the full potential of women in our economy,” Trump said.
“My administration is in the process of rebuilding the American industrial base. A stronger America is in the interests, believe me, of the world as a whole,” he said.
Merkel also spoke in her capacity as president of the G20 - an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
“We say trade has to be rendered fairer. There has to be a win-win situation. We can talk about the details of that. We’ve already seen today when we had an exchange with our CEOs and also with our apprentices what sort of potential we can tap, what sort our potential our two economies have. It’s very moving to see, particularly meeting with these young people, what sort of work towards the future is being done by our companies there,” Merkel said.
“So, particularly in this period where we are transiting from traditional manufacturing to industry -- capacity-building skills are so important, incidentally, not only for young people, but also for those who maybe have lost their jobs and need to be re-skilled in order to find a job again, and that is an issue I know is very important for you here in the United States, but it’s also important for us in Germany,” she said.