AFP, June 15, 2021 — US President Joe Biden said Monday he would lay down “red lines” to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at their upcoming meeting, after rallying NATO allies to face up to challenges from Moscow and Beijing.
Speaking after his first NATO summit since being elected, Biden insisted: “I’m not looking for conflict with Russia, but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities.”
The warning to the Kremlin leader came as Biden pressed to renew Washington’s transatlantic ties with allies after years of tensions under his predecessor Donald Trump.
China’s increasingly assertive actions in building a nuclear arsenal as well as space and cyber warfare capabilities threatens the international order, they said in a statement.
But, in a nod to Washington’s growing concern, he warned: “China’s growing influence and international policies present challenges to Alliance security.”
In the summit communique, the leaders told Russia that there would be no quick return to “business as usual”.
But European allies have been wary that an increase of focus on China could distract NATO from its major priority — Russia.
“We have to find the right balance,” she said. “China is a rival on many issues, but at the same time it is also a partner on many issues.”
“NATO is a military organisation, the subject of our relationship with China is not only military,” he said, stressing NATO’s north Atlantic focus.
Looming large in the background for the summit was also the scramble to complete NATO’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after Biden surprised partners by ordering US troops home by September 11.
Erdogan announced no firm deal on the issue — or any progress on the thorny dispute over Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.
The final NATO summit statement did not mention Turkey’s role at the airport, but did stress that the alliance would continue to pay to keep the facility open.
Allies endorsed a new cyber defence policy to tackle rising threats and agreed for the first time that an attack in space could trigger the Article 5 collective defence clause.