NATO is open to new arms control agreements with Russia and China, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, US Permanent Representative to NATO, told a telephonic press briefing on 18 November.
Asked by New Europe, if she sees any partnership with Russia on nuclear proliferation issues, and how can conflicting issues be overcome, Hutchison said, “Well, certainly, we are open to new arms control agreements. The INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) that has been our treaty with Russia for years had to – we had to see, and NATO did look at the evidence that Russia had been violating the treaty for so long that they really had a number of the ballistic missiles that could reach any European country, and this was a violation of the INF Treaty, so it has now been disbanded, which means that we need to look for new treaties where we can include China as a major now owner and operator of missile systems that could harm any of us, if used.”
The Ambassador was speaking ahead of the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels on 20 November to finalise preparations for the meeting of NATO leaders in London.
NATO is now looking at other arms control treaties, Hutchison continued, that could be with Russia and China, “the main ones that have capabilities that could be harmful to our security. And now that we don’t have the INF and we are looking at the – how we might address the New START Treaty, all of that is in the discussion phase now and I would just say that we all are in favour of nonproliferation and arms control.”
The ambassador said in her opening statement that China has been much more active in global security issues and that now that means that NATO is going to have to assess what the risk is of China if they don’t stay within the rules-based order.
Turning to NATO-EU relations, Hutchison said the US brings a lot to the NATO alliance. “So I think that if you look at the adaptability, how we are able with our – with our umbrella of security to adapt to Russia’s malign influence and hybrid and cyber-attacks, the – we’re the ones standing for Ukraine and Georgia as the Russians have taken over that country; we’re the ones who expelled Russian spies all over the alliance when the UK got the Russian chemical agent put in its country to kill one of its former Soviet citizens. We stood firm with the UK on that, and I think that it shocked Russia that we were so unified against that horrendous act,” Hutchison said.
“We need to face China together,” she added. According to the Ambassador, the EU alone should not think that they will be able to meet the challenges of a rising China without the Transatlantic bond.