US President Joe Biden warned Monday that NATO must adapt to new challenges posed by China and Russia as he met fellow leaders to renew Washington’s “sacred” bond with its allies.
Arriving at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a summit with his 29 counterparts, Biden stressed that the alliance was “critically important” to US security.
But it is also a moment to renew priorities and strategies for dealing with Moscow and Beijing, novel threats, and NATO’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after years of conflict.
“We have Russia that is not acting in a way that is consistent with what we had hoped, as well as China,” he said.
And he stressed once again that Article 5 of the NATO treaty — the obligation of members to defend one another, once called into question by Trump — was a “sacred obligation”.
“We’re not entering a new Cold War and China is not our adversary, not our enemy,” Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived at NATO headquarters ahead of the leaders.
– Erdogan talks –
France’s President Emmanuel Macron met one-on-one with his Turkish counterpart and fellow ally Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the summit, and Biden was due to meet him later.
In contrast to Trump, Biden has firmly reasserted American backing for the 72-year-old military alliance — and his administration has been making a show of consulting more with partners.
But there remain divisions among the allies on some key issues — including how to deal with China’s rise and how to increase common funding.
Other leaders arriving for the talks dismissed this phrase, but European leaders stressed that they did not want to be drawn into a US confrontation with China at the cost of focusing on Russia.
The leaders will agree to rewrite the core “strategic concept” to face a world where cyber attacks, climate change, and new technologies pose new threats.
On China, Biden is picking up from where Trump left off by getting NATO to start paying attention to Beijing and is pushing for the alliance to take a tougher line.
– Out of Afghanistan –
Allies are patching together plans to try to avert a collapse of Afghan forces when they leave and figuring out how to provide enough security for Western embassies to keep working.
Stoltenberg said that NATO would continue to fund Afghan forces, train them abroad and provide civilian support to the government once the military mission has ended.
Stoltenberg said allies are expected to sign off on a new cyber defence policy and to create a fund to help start-ups developing groundbreaking technology.