December 2, 2020 – NATO foreign ministers concluded two days of virtual meetings on Wednesday (2 December 2020) to discuss key issues, including NATO’s adaptation, Russia’s military build-up, the rise of China, and Afghanistan.
Addressing the situation in Afghanistan, Allies underlined their commitment to the NATO training mission and to supporting the Afghan security forces in the fight against terrorism. The Secretary General noted that Allies will face a turning point next year – whether to stay in Afghanistan and risk continued fighting, or leave and risk that the country becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. “Whatever we decide, we must do it in a coordinated and orderly way,” he stressed.
Ministers also discussed Russia’s continued military build-up, as well as arms control issues. They expressed support for preserving limitations of nuclear weapons and for developing a more comprehensive arms control regime.
In addition, Allies discussed the NATO 2030 initiative and the continued adaptation of NATO, including a report by an expert group appointed by the Secretary General. “Their report shows that NATO is agile,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He will continue to consult with Allies, civil society, parliamentarians, young leaders and the private sector to prepare recommendations for NATO leaders next year.
On Wednesday, ministers addressed the shift in the global balance of power and the rise of China. Asia-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, as well as Finland, Sweden, and the European Union High Representative joined them. Noting that China’s rise presents both opportunities and challenges, the Secretary General highlighted the value of like-minded democracies working together to defend shared values, bolster resilience and uphold the international rules-based order.
Separately, Allies agreed on a comprehensive report on China. “It assesses China’s military development, its growing activity in our neighborhood, and the implications for NATO resilience, including when it comes to emerging technologies and our critical infrastructure,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
The ministerial concluded with a meeting with the foreign ministers of Georgia and Ukraine on security in the Black Sea region and NATO’s continued support to both partners. “We discussed their reform programs and made clear that we are stepping up our practical support,” said the Secretary General. Ministers also discussed developments in Belarus and Nagorno-Karabakh.