BRUSSELS, June 14 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden told fellow NATO leaders on Monday that the defense of Europe, Turkey and Canada is a “sacred obligation” for the United States, a marked departure from the threats of his predecessor Donald Trump to withdraw from the Military Alliance.

* Biden arrives at NATO after G7 summit

* Strong NATO message on China follows G7 criticism

* China says West should not mind its own business

* NATO will also discuss relations with Russia (Redesigns with the arrival of Biden at NATO headquarters)

By Robin Emmott, Steve Holland and Sabine Siebold

Arriving in Brussels from the weekend’s G7 summit in England, Biden again sought to rally Western allies to support a US strategy to contain China’s military rise and show unity in the face of the Russian aggression.

“Article five is a sacred obligation,” Biden said, referring to the transatlantic alliance’s commitment to collective defense. “I want all of Europe to know that the United States is here,” he said after arriving in his black presidential limousine.

“NATO is vitally important to us,” said Biden, who seeks to reestablish ties after Trump’s denigration of the nuclear alliance over the past four years and what Trump has said are its members. delinquents “.

Allies are expected to view China as a security risk to the Western alliance for the first time, a day after the Group of Seven wealthy nations issued a human rights statement in China and Taiwan, which Beijing says has defamed its reputation.

Biden said Russia and China were not acting “in a manner as we hoped”, referring to Western efforts since the mid-1990s to bring the two countries into the fold of liberal democracies.

Allied leaders are concerned about Russia’s recent military build-up near Ukraine, as well as its covert and cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western states, though Moscow denies any wrongdoing. China is no longer seen as a benign trading partner.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said China’s growing military presence from the Baltic States to Africa means NATO must be prepared. “China is getting closer to us. We see them in cyberspace, we see China in Africa, but we also see China investing heavily in our own critical infrastructure, ”he said, referring to ports and telecommunications networks.

“We must react together as an alliance.”

Diplomats said the final NATO summit communiqué would not label China as an adversary – and Stoltenberg said China was not an enemy – but would demonstrate concern, calling it a “systemic” challenge for Atlantic security as it joins Russia with military exercises, launches cyber attacks and quickly builds up its navy.

G7 countries gathered in Britain over the weekend berated China for human rights in its Xinjiang region, called on Hong Kong to retain a high degree of autonomy and demanded a full investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in China.

The Chinese Embassy in London has declared itself resolutely opposed to references to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which it says distorts the facts and exposes the “sinister intentions of a few countries like the United States”.

“China’s reputation should not be slandered,” the embassy said on Monday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the top, said there were both risks and rewards with Beijing.

“When it comes to China, I don’t think anyone around the table wants to slip into a new cold war with China,” he said.

DEEP ECONOMIC LINKS

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has modernized its defenses, but has only recently begun to take a more serious look at any potential threat from Chinese ambitions.

From Chinese investments in European ports and plans to install military bases in Africa to joint military exercises with Russia, NATO now agrees that Beijing’s rise to power deserves a strong response, though emissaries said it would be multi-faceted.

The Allies are aware of their economic ties with China. Total German trade with China in 2020 was over 212 billion euros ($ 256.82 billion), according to German government data, making Beijing the number one trading partner for goods.

China’s total holdings of U.S. Treasuries in March 2021 was $ 1.1 trillion, according to U.S. data, and total U.S. trade with China in 2020 was $ 559.2 billion. of dollars.

Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in Geneva.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said Russia was trying to “swallow” Belarus and NATO must be united to deter Moscow.

“Belarus is losing the last elements of independence, and these trends are very dangerous,” Nauseda said upon arrival.

Leaders are also ready to commit to reducing the climate impact of NATO military personnel and lowering the bar for any retaliation for cyber attacks. Space, Afghanistan and political reforms to make NATO more responsive in a multipolar world are on the agenda. ($ 1 = 0.8255 euros) (Additional reporting by Mark John, Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper in London and Kate Abnett, Gabriela Baczynska, Marine Strauss and John Chalmers in Brussels, edited by Jane Merriman, Gareth Jones and Catherine Evans)


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Source: www.dailymaverick.co.za
This notice was published: 2021-06-14 12:30:06

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