Above Photo: Twitter @AJEnglish.
Representatives of all 30 members of the bloc have gathered in Brussels on 14 June to discuss the current challenges that the alliance is facing and how they will address them in the coming years.
NATO members at its first in-person gathering since 2018 have adopted a new 2030 strategic concept proposed by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The joint communiqué of the bloc’s 30 nations said that they agreed further to strengthen NATO in the face of any threats.
“[We will] strengthen NATO as the organizing framework for the collective defense of the Euro-Atlantic area, against all threats, from all directions,” the statement said.
The alliance members have stated that they are facing “systemic competition from assertive and authoritarian powers” as well as growing security challenges. They specifically focused on Russia and China, among the leading causes of their concerns, with a nod to the nuclear deal with Iran. While also adding that terrorism, threats to the “rules-based” international order, migration, and cybersecurity are also on the list of their top priorities.
“We are increasingly confronted by cyber, hybrid, and other asymmetric threats, including disinformation campaigns, and by the malicious use of ever-more-sophisticated emerging and disruptive technologies,” the joint statement said.
A continued confrontation with Russia based on the pretext of Moscow allegedly engaging in behavior not compatible with international law is part of the stated purpose for the ongoing decade. The member states agreed not to return to the pre-2014 relations with the Kremlin unless it changes this supposed behavior.
Bloc members also rejected a Russian proposal for mutual non-deployment of missiles previously banned under the INF Treaty, abandoned by the U.S. in 2019. The joint statement claimed that the proposal is inconsistent with Moscow’s actions.
The NATO countries further vowed to respond to the growing Russian missile arsenal in a “measured [and] balanced” way while stressing that they have no plans to deploy land-based nuclear weapons in Europe.
Regarding the other emerging world power, China, alliance members claimed that the Asian nation’s goals and behavior present “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.” They accused Beijing of being involved in “coercive policies,” covertly upgrading its armed forces, and using disinformation to achieve its goals.
While the communiqué stops short of declaring China a NATO rival, it called on the Asian country to “act responsibly” in the international system and respect its commitments.
“China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance. We will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the Alliance”, the statement said.
The communiqué of the NATO members also endorsed efforts directed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal), praising its “non-proliferation benefits.” They also hailed efforts that have been made so far by the signatories to the agreement and the U.S. aimed at salvaging the accord.
At the same time, the bloc’s members condemned Tehran’s alleged involvement in arming militant groups in the Middle East, including providing missile technologies. They separately called on Iran to cease all missile activities that go against UN Security Council Resolution 2231.