BERLIN -- Germany has rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that the country owes NATO large sums for underspending on defence.

Trump tweeted Saturday that "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany!"

His comments came a day after his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which he described as "great."

Berlin's defence budget has long been below NATO's target of 2 per cent of a member's gross domestic product.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that "there's no debtor's account at NATO," adding: "To tie the 2 per cent of defence spending, which we want to achieve in the middle of the next decade, only to NATO, is wrong."