Place strategy

China, Russia and climate change: why Australia’s place at the NATO summit was so important

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese admitted at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Public Forum that some Australians may not understand why he is at a NATO meeting in Spain. But that since COVID and the invasion of Ukraine, more and more Australians have realized how connected nations are to each other and we can no longer ‘compartmentalise’.

NATO is a treaty-based organization created in 1949 by the United States, Canada and several Western European countries to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. Australia is not a member, but an “Enhanced Opportunity Partner”.

It was the first time that Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand had been invited as special guests at a NATO summit. Although the Prime Minister did not speak about it, it was critically important for Australia to be at the leadership level and make its mark in bringing Europe’s attention to security challenges. of the Indo-Pacific.

Our invitation was influenced by US President Joe Biden’s firm view that “the security nexus between the Indo-Pacific and the Euro-Atlantic is only getting deeper.” The Prime Minister took advantage of this visit to send a message to the Chinese government asking it to draw lessons from Russia’s “strategic failure” in Ukraine.

As it unfolded, the Madrid summit was felt by many to be a watershed moment that could influence Australian and global national security in the future.

NATO and its partners have demonstrated a unified commitment to the rule of law, border sovereignty and human security in Europe and beyond. All this in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the precedent it sets for other would-be aggressors.

NATO also needed to consider its response to China’s growing influence and assertiveness and the security implications of climate change. These are two critical imports for Australia’s future.

The impact and importance of diplomatic moments like these must be better communicated to the Australian public through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

What happened at the Summit? All 30 NATO members met to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and approve NATO’s new strategic concept. There were some clear headlines: – NATO to increase troops on high alert by over seven times to over 300,000.

– NATO officially invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after Turkey withdrew its objections.

– the strategic concept document defines Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to the security of the Allies.

This document also addresses for the first time China and the challenges that Beijing poses to the security, interests and values ​​of the Allies. The language used about China is candid, with statements such as The PRC uses a wide range of political, economic and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power, while remaining opaque about its strategy, its intentions and its military reinforcement. […] It strives to overturn the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains. China replied that: NATO’s so-called new strategic concept is just old wine in a new bottle. It still hasn’t changed the Cold War mentality of creating imaginary enemies and facing blocks.

NATO also says climate change is “a defining challenge of our time”. This is the view of former defense chiefs being aired in the context of the federal election.

Australia has deepened its ties with NATO Australia’s invitation is the result of a long-term strategy to deepen its ties with NATO. Australia is a partner, not a member, so this invitation to Asia-Pacific countries is significant. This reflects NATO’s intention to focus on China and Indo-Pacific security for the first time in its history.

Australia’s relationship with NATO has begun to strengthen following our deployments to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Australia and NATO signed a joint political declaration in June 2012, followed by individual partnership and cooperation programs in 2013 and 2017.

In 2014, NATO further recognized Australia as a “valuable, capable and reliable partner” by granting Australia “Enhanced Opportunities Partner” status (along with Finland, Georgia, Jordan, Sweden and Ukraine).

And in August 2019, Australia and NATO signed a renewed partnership agreement during a historic visit by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Australia.

Secondary objectives The Prime Minister also had important objectives on the sidelines of the summit, including: – a visit to Paris to improve relations with France after the announcement of the AUKUS submarine – talks to revitalize trade relations with the EU – and bilateral meetings with the King and Queen of Spain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden. It could include a visit to Ukraine, security permitting, following the Indonesian president’s recent visit to Kyiv. The Prime Minister has been invited to visit Ukraine to underline his commitment to this issue. He said: Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the effort to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and its fight against Russia’s barbaric and illegal war.

These opportunities to deepen personal contacts with other world leaders are essential to the success of Australian diplomacy.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)