The United States, Britain and other NATO allies are expected today to refine their language on the challenges posed by China, keep up the pressure on Russia and fight against it for the first time. climate change a security priority.
Joe biden will be at the center of the first summit of alliance leaders since the start of the pandemic.
He will explain how NATO seeks to transform itself to deter new threats – from cyber attacks and fake news to high-speed missiles and space weapons capable of destroying satellites.
In-person meeting in Brussels precedes the US president’s first face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Poutine in Switzerland on Wednesday and follows a three-day summit of the G7 in Cornwall.
The Russian president told NBC News in an interview ahead of his meeting with Biden that relations between Moscow and Washington were at their “lowest point.”
The new US leader should reassure NATO about the US “rock-solid commitment” to collective defense – words that could not contrast sharply with those of his predecessor.
Donald trump spent his presidency threatening to leave the alliance and berating the allies for not paying their fair share. This made NATO meetings, usually carefully choreographed, highly unpredictable and explosive.
Sign of a return of the allies in a more harmonious phase, the White House even issued a statement on Sunday outlining the main results of the summit in advance.
They included a plan to revise a plan by next year that shapes everything NATO does.
The new “strategic concept” “will guide the alliance’s approach to the evolving strategic environment, which includes aggressive Russian policies and actions; the challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China to our security, prosperity and collective values; and transnational threats such as terrorism, cyber threats and climate change. “
NATO leaders will endorse a plan to update the alliance’s cyber defenses and seek to tackle the biggest test on the planet – climate change.
As part of this new initiative, NATO will aim to lead the way in “understanding and adapting to the impact of climate change on security,” according to the White House statement.
For example, the risks of conflict will increase as countries compete for access to resources such as water and people migrate.
The armed forces of all NATO countries will also reduce greenhouse gases from their operations and bases – an area that is not well monitored at present.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said at a pre-summit press conference on Friday: “My ambition is a clear allied commitment to significantly reduce military emissions and for NATO to contribute to it. goal of Net Zero “.
Although there is a strong display of unity at the top, questions remain as to whether the majority of Allies have the political will and the economic capacity to commit the necessary funds to meet NATO’s future vision. , especially during a pandemic, observers said.
The British Prime Minister, who has just hosted the G7, will stress the importance of security as the world tries to rebuild itself from the coronavirus.
“NATO is not only important to the security of the UK, it is our security,” Boris Johnson said in a statement issued by his office.
“Take on new challenges and face emerging threats. This will ensure that NATO remains the foundation of global defense for generations to come. “
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NATO leaders, including Mr Biden, began arriving in the Belgian capital on Sunday ahead of the half-day later summit at the alliance’s giant glass headquarters.
Despite the relatively short duration of the talks, the allies are expected to agree on a lengthy statement that should include hardening of language on the challenges posed by China, according to three European sources.
China was first mentioned in a statement from NATO leaders after the previous summit, hosted by the UK, in 2019 – when it was described as a challenge and an opportunity.
Eighteen months later, that language should give a better idea of how Beijing, with its growing military might, is challenging democracies around the world.
Allies will continue to focus on areas of cooperation, including climate change.
But the threat posed by a rising China is causing concern especially in the United States, with officials accusing the ruling Chinese Communist Party of human rights abuses and attempting to undermine international rules established since World War II.