US President Donald Trump has urged Nato allies to commit 4% of their GDP to military spending – double the current target.
White House officials confirmed he made the remarks during the summit of Nato leaders in Brussels.
Earlier, Mr Trump criticised Germany over its defence spending and energy reliance on Russia.
Nato’s secretary-general said the primary focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2%.
Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: “I think we should first get to 2%, focus on that now… the good thing is that we are moving to that.”
For decades after the end of the Cold War, he said, Nato countries had cut defence budgets as tensions fell – and now needed to increase them at a time when when tensions were rising.
What is the spending row about?
Mr Trump’s main objection is that all but a handful of member states have still not increased their defence budgets to meet a goal of spending at least 2% of their annual economic output on defence by 2024.
Of Nato’s 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the UK and Latvia. However, several, such as Poland and France, are close to the mark.