Mon, 02 Aug 2021

Brussels [Belgium], June 14 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Monday arrived in-person at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit, where he is expected to urge western allies to better align themselves against China and Russia, the chief foreign policy concerns of his administration.

"I think that there is a growing recognition over the last couple years that we have new challenges, and we have Russia that is not acting in a way that is consistent with what we had hoped, as well as China," Biden said at the start of the summit, reported CNN.

The summit comes as Biden looks to reassert US leadership on the world stage and strengthen global partnerships. He arrived in Brussels on the heels of several meetings with US allies and the annual Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, UK.

The summit got underway with all 30 NATO leaders entering a hall for a family photo, practicing social distancing.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that China does not "share our values," citing Bejing's crackdown on democratic protests in Hong Kong and persecution of minorities as a key difference with the alliance, according to CNN.

"We see how they crack down on democratic protests in Hong Kong and also persecute minorities in their own country and use modern technology, social media, facial recognition to monitor and surveillance their own population in a way we've never seen before," he said ahead of the key summit.

Noting the growing military strength of Beijing, Stoltenberg also said that China has the second-largest defence budget in the world, the biggest navy, and is investing massively in new military equipment, which "affects our security.""The rise of China is defining for our security for our transatlantic bond. Of course, the rise of China provides us an opportunity for our economies. But we need to talk to China on issues like climate change and arms control, at the same time the fact that China has the largest economy in the world, biggest navy in the world."As he arrived at the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said NATO does not want a new cold war with China, but "people see challenges".

Moreover, Biden's meetings this week are meant to build up to a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. He will also put emphasis on cyber threats, including allowing NATO members to invoke the Article 5 collective defense provision in the event of a cyber-attack.

According to CNN, Biden is looking to take a vastly different approach to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who frequently railed against NATO, questioned the need for the organisation and argued the US was contributing more than its fair share to the group.

In a statement on Sunday, the White House said during the summit, NATO members will announce a new "strategic concept" that would guide the alliance's approach going forward as the strategic environment changes, including threats from China and Russia.

Earlier, G7 leaders issued a final communique of their shared agenda moving forward. It committed to end the coronavirus pandemic, combat the climate crisis, speaking out against human rights abuses in China, singling out Russia as harbouring networks that have conducted ransomware attacks, among other issues.

On Russia, Biden said that he agreed with Putin that relations between the US and Russia are at a "low point," but told reporters that the US is "not looking for conflict" and said there may be a "strategic doctrine" that the countries could agree on that touches on areas like the climate crisis, CNN reported.

China's actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, which have gained international scorn, had been a major talking point of the recently-concluded G7 summit.

China was mentioned four times over 25 pages, but countless other sections allude to Beijing without mentioning it by name. It mentioned the G7's much-vaunted infrastructure drive, which has been billed as a "green" alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, but still, few details were revealed. (ANI)

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