NATO foreign ministers will begin a two-day session in Washington, DC today as the alliance celebrates its 70th anniversary. US Vice President Mike Pence and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are among those confirmed to speak.
While Russia will be a major topic of discussion as per usual, the summit is expected to focus primarily on potential security threats from China. Beijing’s growing global influence has seen escalating tensions with Washington and, to a lesser extent, trade tensions with European powers.
The talks come amid extreme uncertainty for the alliance, given the Trump administration’s repeated accusations that other NATO countries are not contributing adequately. NATO leaders have been tasked with underlining the importance of the alliance and its relevance to Washington after the US president threatened to withdraw from NATO last year.
Today’s meeting will be an opportunity for the secretary general to prove that NATO can be effective in combatting global threats. If Mr Stoltenberg can justify addressing threats from China, while stressing NATO’s modernisation efforts and increased commitments to burden-sharing, the US-NATO relationship could warm, as the bloc pivots to address security threats from Asia.
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