Germans favor withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in Germany: poll

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-12 00:48:08|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Nearly every second German wants U.S. troops stationed in the country to be withdrawn, according to a "YouGov" poll published on Wednesday which was commissioned by the German press agency (dpa).

According to the survey, 42 percent of Germans are in favor of ending the military presence which the U.S. has maintained since the end of World War II. Some 37 percent of respondents indicated that they wanted U.S. troops to remain in Germany while a further 21 did not provide an answer to the question posed by the YouGov opinion research institute.

Broken down by the party affiliation of respondents, Left party (Linke) voters were most opposed to the presence of U.S troops (67 percent against), followed by the Alternative for Germany (55 percent against) and Greens (48 percent against).

Among supporters of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/ Christian Social union (CSU) and German Social Democrats (SPD), 35 percent and 42 percent respectively called for the U.S. army to pack up in Germany.

The presence of American soldiers in Germany is a legacy of the military defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945 when the allied parties split control of the war-torn country. Washington subsequently maintained and raised the number of troops in West Germany to provide a security guarantee to Bonn during the Cold War.

Although the number of troops has fallen significantly again to around 35,000 since the end of the U.S.-Soviet conflict, Germany is still the second largest U.S. overseas military base in the world after Japan.

U.S. president Donald Trump is scheduled to attend a NATO summit together with German chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in Brussels on Wednesday where the future of the U.S. military presence in Germany is likely to form a subject of discussion.

According to a recent report by the newspaper Washington Post, Trump has expressed interest in reducing the size of the U.S. contingent in the country to protest what he views as insufficient national defense spending by the federal government in Berlin.

Trump has already repeatedly lashed out at Merkel's government for failing to meet NATO related targets and warned that the U.S. would no longer be willing to foot as large a bill for German security going forward.

Nevertheless, the U.S. ministry of defense denied the existence of plans to pull troops out of Germany in response to the Washington Post report.