NATO not looking for “new cold war” with China, Johnson says
Boris Johnson insisted that NATO did not want a new cold war with China, but acknowledged that it posed “challenges” for the Western alliance.
The Prime Minister traveled to Brussels for a NATO leaders meeting, with China and Russia being two of the main issues facing the alliance.
Arriving at the Brussels summit, Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think anyone around the table wants to dive into a new cold war with China.
“I don’t think that’s where the people are.
“I think people see challenges, they see things that we have to deal with together.
“But they also see opportunities and I think what we need to do is do it together.”
US President Joe Biden will meet Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday and Mr Johnson has said he will send “pretty harsh messages” to the Russian leader.
“I am still hopeful things will improve with Russia but… I fear it has been quite disappointing so far from a British point of view,” Mr Johnson said.
“When I saw President Putin, I was very clear.
“You will remember what happened in Salisbury, where innocent members of the public were poisoned by Novichok, a woman tragically lost her life.
“This is no way to behave. NATO allies were on Britain’s side then and I know President Biden will be sending some pretty harsh messages to President Putin over the next few days. “
Mr Johnson is expected to use the meeting to highlight how the Covid crisis has been exacerbated by security threats – including cyber attacks on the health systems of some members of the alliance.
He will also support the modernization program instituted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, saying the alliance must be ready to meet the challenges of the future.
Ahead of the meeting, Stoltenberg said relations with Russia were at “the lowest point” since the end of the Cold War.
He said there is a “pattern of Russian behavior” ranging from cyber attacks to a willingness to use military force against neighbors such as Ukraine and Georgia.
“We see attempts to interfere with our democratic political processes, to undermine confidence in our institutions and efforts to divide us. We have to take this very seriously, ”he told Times Radio.
“We need to strengthen our cyber defenses, we need to exchange intelligence, we need to be vigilant and aware of all these different tools of aggressive action, military and non-military.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has suggested that former Prime Minister Theresa May would be an “excellent” candidate to succeed Mr Stoltenberg when he resigns next year.