NATO allies issue strongest warning yet over Russia threat, mention China for first time

epaselect epa08043369 Leaders pose for the family photo during the NATO Summit in London, Britain, 04 December 2019. NATO countries' heads of states and governments gather in London for a two-day meeting. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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NATO allies have used their strongest language yet against Russia, mentioned China for the first time and agreed to a rethink about the future.

In a joint declaration, the 29 heads of state and government also pledged to ensure that each country’s next generation 5G communications networks, which have been dogged by suspicion over Huawei, rely “on secure and resilient systems”.

The document was published at the end of a half-day mini-summit at a golf resort in Watford, northwest of London, to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

See the full London Declaration here

Its content was overshadowed by a public fallout between US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a video that emerged of the latter apparently gossiping about his US counterpart to other leaders.

Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government London
US President Donald Trump (L) and Canada’s Prime minister Justin Trudeau (R) during NATO Summit in London, Britain, 04 December 2019. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

But despite the public rancour, genuine issues of substance were agreed at the meeting, overseen by Jens Stoltenberg, the bloc’s Norwegian secretary general.

Although the 29-member bloc’s future is not in doubt, there are disagreements over Turkey’s recent military action in northern Syria; the levels of military spending by members; and recent comments by Mr Macron that the alliance is “brain dead”.

Despite the divisions, Mr Johnson – the host of the event – described Nato as a “giant shield of solidarity” that “protects nearly a billion people”, saying at the start of the meeting at a luxury resort in Watford: “As long as we stand together, no-one can hope to defeat us.”

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited increased spending commitments on defence by European allies and Canada, saying: “Nato is the most successful alliance in history because we’ve changed as the world has changed.”

On Tuesday, he said those nations had added $130bn (£100bn) to defence budgets since 2016, and that this number would increase to $400bn by 2024. Mr Trump has frequently and forcefully criticised how much other allies spend on defence.

Via Sky News/BBC




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