NATO takes tough line on China at first summit with Biden
NATO leaders designated China as presenting "systemic challenges" in a summit communique on June 14, taking a forceful stance towards Beijing at Joe Biden's first summit with an alliance that Donald Trump openly disparaged and ridiculed.
The new U.S. president has urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China's authoritarianism and growing military might, a change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The language in the summit's final communique, which will now set the path for alliance policy, comes a day after the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations issued a statement on human rights in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.
"China's stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security," NATO leaders said in a communique after their summit.
Biden also told European allies the alliance's mutual defense pact was a "sacred obligation" for the United States - a marked shift in tone from his predecessor Trump, who had threatened to withdraw from the alliance and accused Europeans of contributing too little to their own defense.
"I want all Europe to know that the United States is there," said Biden. "NATO is critically important to us."
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, at her last summit of the alliance before she steps down in September, described Biden's arrival as the opening of a new chapter. She also said it was important to deal with China as a potential threat, while keeping it in perspective.
"If you look at the cyber threats and the hybrid threats, if you look at the cooperation between...
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