NATO Summit 2024: UK PM Starmer Offers Support To Ukraine; Members Say China 'Decisive Enabler' Of Russia's War

The US said that Ukraine is on an "irreversible" path to NATO membership, noting that it will happen only after its war with Russia ends.

NATO Summit 2024 in Washington DC, US | Photo: AP

On its second day, the 2024 NATO Summit witnessed the international debut of UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, offering his strong support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The Labour leader, who won the recently held UK elections with a landslide victory, also held private talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the backdrop of the military alliance's summit. He assured Zelenskyy of Britain's full-throated backing for Kyiv as it battles Russia's invasion.

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Ukraine is on an "irreversible" path to NATO membership, noting that it will happen only after its war with Russia ends.


Concerns Over Deepening Russia-China Ties

The 32-member NATO expressed concerns on Wednesday over the deepening relationship between Russia and China, and also on the latter's aggressive behaviour.

The Washington Summit Declaration said, "The People's Republic of China's (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies continue to challenge our interests, security and values. The deepening strategic partnership between Russia and the PRC and their mutually-reinforcing attempts to undercut and reshape the rules-based international order are a cause for profound concern."

The declaration issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the NATO said, "We are confronted by hybrid, cyber, space and other threats and malicious activities from state and non-state actors."

"Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is the most direct asymmetric threat to the security of our citizens and to international peace and prosperity. The threats we face are global and interconnected," it said.

Strengthen Industrial Base, Says Biden

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on NATO members to strengthen their industrial base, noting that presently Russia is on a wartime footing with regard to defense production.

NATO had two years ago launched a plan to modernise its deterrence and defence system, Biden said.

"Today, we have to ask ourselves, what is next? How can we keep making the shield stronger? One answer must be to strengthen our industrial base," he said.

Biden, who is in the run to become the US President for another term, further said, "Right now, Russia is on a wartime footing with regard to defence production. They are significantly ramping up their production of weapons, munitions and vehicles. And they are doing it with the help of China, North Korea and Iran. In my view, we cannot allow the alliance to fall behind."

He noted that it was for the first time ever that every NATO nation is pledging to develop plans for defence production at home.

"That means, as an alliance, we will become more innovative and competitive. We are able to produce more critical defence equipment more quickly and we may need it," Biden added.

China 'Decisive Enabler' Of Russia's War In Ukraine

Rebuking Beijing, the NATO allies termed China to be a "decisive enabler" of Russia's war against Ukraine and expressed concerns over China's nuclear arsenal and its capabilities in space.

The strongly-worded final communique, signed by the 32 member countries of NATO, made it clear the China is becoming a focus of their alliance.

Beijing, however, has dismissed claims of providing support to Russia's war efforts, insisting that it conducts trade per usual with its northern neighbour.

The communique stated that China has become a war enabler through its "no-limits partnership" with Russia and its large-scale support for Russia's defence industrial base.

"This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security. We call on the PRC, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia's war effort," the communiqué read.

Meanwhile, Beijing expressed displeasure at NATO's growing interest in Asia and demanded the alliance stay out of the Asia-Pacific region and not incite confrontation.

International Debutant, UK PM Offers Support To Ukraine

Marking his international debut at the NATO Summit, UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer on Wednesday offered a strong support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Starmer held private talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and reiterated Britain's full-throated support for Kyiv as it continues to battle Russian invasion.

He said that him and his Labour government would "use our opportunity here with our allies to make sure that support is agreed" by NATO members.

Starmer noted that it was important for him to "reinforce, in a sense as a message to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, the resolve of NATO -- bigger now than it has ever been, more united than it has ever been and absolutely clear-eyed about the threat of Russian aggression."


Starmer will also be meeting US President Joe Biden, where the two nations are expected to reaffirm the "special relationship" between them that has been a hallmark of transatlantic cooperation for more than a century.

He had earlier said that Labour is "the party of national security", with an "unshakeable commitment to NATO" and a promise to keep Britain's nuclear weapons.

(With AP inputs)