A statement said attacks “from or in space” could be a challenge that threatens “national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability, and could be as damaging to modern societies as a conventional attack. “.
Article 5 of the Military Alliance Treaty states that an attack against one of the 30 Allies would be considered an attack against all.
Until now, it only applied to attacks on land, sea, air or in cyberspace.
The statement after their summit in Brussels said attacks in space could lead to invocation of Article 5, but a decision as to when such attacks warrant a response would be “taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis ”.
About 2,000 Earth-orbiting satellites, more than half of which are operated by NATO countries, operate everything from mobile phone and banking services to weather forecasts.
Military commanders also use some of them to navigate, communicate, share intelligence, and detect missile launches.
Shortly after arriving at alliance headquarters for the first NATO summit of his presidency, Joe Biden spoke with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the article 5.
Mr. Biden said: “Section 5, we consider it a sacred obligation. I want NATO to know America is here. “
Over the past four years, Donald Trump has called the alliance “obsolete” and complained that it allowed “fat” countries to spend less on military defense at the expense of the United States.
Many member countries are concerned about what they say is increasingly aggressive behavior in the China-Russia space.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said NATO does not want to “sink into a new cold war” with China.
Speaking before the summit, the Prime Minister said the East Asian nation had become a “new strategic consideration” for OTAN but he also said there would be “opportunities” to get involved.
“I don’t think anyone around the table today wants to slide into a new cold war with China, he said at a press conference.
His comments echo those of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said the alliance should “engage” with China on issues such as climate change and arms control.
“China’s military strengthening, growing influence and coercive behavior pose certain challenges to our security,” Stoltenberg said.
However, he also said that “we are not entering a new cold war” and that China is “not our adversary, nor our enemy” – although it has become a “systemic” security challenge. western.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that China “will feature in the (NATO) communiqué in a more robust manner than ever before” as the alliance begins to take a more serious look at any potential threats from the country.
NATO also takes a firmer stance Russia, with Mr Stoltenberg saying their relationship is “at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War”.
Mr Johnson said there was “hope” that things could improve with Russia, but that the situation was currently “quite disappointing” from a British perspective.
Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News that his country’s relationship with the United States was at its “lowest point in recent years.”
It precedes a meeting between Joe Biden and Mr. Putin on Wednesday, which will take place after the US president meets with NATO leaders.
Mr Biden had previously said that the United States “is not seeking to come into conflict with Russia” and wants a “stable and predictable relationship”.
However, he said America would “react in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”
Analysis: toughen up with Beijing and Moscow as Biden impact kicks in
By Deborah Haynes, Foreign Affairs Editor
The toughest language yet on China, calling on Russia on its nuclear arsenal and committing for the first time to making tackling climate change a security priority.
The NATO alliance exposed an increasingly diverse range of dangers and priorities in a voluminous statement that betrayed the brevity of what was in reality a half-day leaders’ summit in Brussels.
Spread over 79 paragraphs – covering nuclear, cybernetic and even space threats as well as the need to embrace emerging technologies like artificial intelligence – the plan is far more ambitious than anything attempted when Donald Trump was at Home White.
It shows how the new president allows NATO to once again focus on external threats and the need to adapt instead of worrying about his own survival – a concern that has sometimes been speculated over the past four years. of the previous US administration.
Mr. Trump, who has never been a fan of multilateral organizations and in particular NATO, has spent much of his time berating the Allies for not paying their fair share for collective defense (he had a good point) and even threaten to withdraw the United States from the club.
This meant that crossing a summit without an unmanageable catastrophe was considered a success.
And yet Trump’s approach has at least prompted many allies, especially Germany, to step up efforts to move closer to NATO’s spending target of 2% of national income.
This time around however, the alliance once again has a fan in charge of its most important member state.
President Joe Biden has made it clear his commitment to NATO and the importance he places on the alliance for collective security.
He also knows he needs all the allies he can muster to face what he sees as the challenge of his time – tackling the rise of Chinese-led authoritarianism, which do not respect the same values as the democracies of the world.
The NATO communiqué read: “CThe stated ambitions and assertive behavior of the hina present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to the security of the alliance. “
He points to Beijing’s “coercive policies” and how it “is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and more sophisticated launch systems to establish a nuclear triad.”
China’s cooperation with former NATO rival Russia is also of concern.
It is important to remember that China did not appear for the first time in a NATO statement until December 2019.
Yet the ruling Communist Party is not seen as a problem for allies to unanimously agree that it is a security threat – a conclusion with which some member states may perhaps be concerned. at variance.