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NATO summit ends amid division and opposition


VILNIUS, July 13 (IANS) The NATO summit concluded here in the Lithuanian capital amid divisions among members and opposition from the international community.

During the summit that concluded on Wednesday, NATO adopted its “most comprehensive defense plans since the end of the Cold War” and endorsed a new defense production action plan.

According to China’s new news agency (Xinhua) that NATO aims under the new plans to have 300 thousand troops fully prepared for action.

NATO allies have also made a “standing commitment” to invest at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product annually in defence, according to a statement posted at the summit.

Documents released at the summit showed that only 11 of the coalition’s 31 members had reached or exceeded that target after “nine consecutive years of increased defense spending” since 2014.

NATO leaders also pledged more long-term support to Ukraine and held the inaugural meeting of the new NATO-Ukraine Council with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, they failed to set a timetable for Ukraine’s membership in the coalition, which Zelensky called “unprecedented and absurd”.

NATO members are divided on how to bring Ukraine closer to their bloc. While some members of Eastern Europe are pushing for an explicit commitment on when Ukraine will join, the United States and Germany are reluctant to elaborate, according to some reports.

A regional alliance between Europe and North America, NATO once again invited the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, or the so-called partners in the Asia-Pacific region, to its summit for the second time and pledged to “further strengthen dialogue and cooperation to meet our common security challenges,” according to the statement.

In the statement, the military bloc mentioned China 15 times, saying that China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security, and values” and that China poses “systemic challenges” to the alliance.

In response, China on Wednesday rejected such allegations.

“What was said in NATO’s statement is completely the opposite of the truth and a product of Cold War mentality and ideological bias. China firmly opposes it,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin at a daily press briefing.

“We urge NATO to stop making groundless accusations and provocative rhetoric targeting China, abandon the outdated Cold War mentality, and abandon the impropriety of pursuing absolute security. We have seen what NATO has done to Europe, and NATO should not seek to Sow chaos here in the Asia Pacific region or anywhere else in the world.”

Ahead of the two-day summit, anti-NATO protests were held in several European countries, including major countries such as Britain and France.

– Jans


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