Amid differences between members and opposition from the international community, the NATO summit concluded on Wednesday in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. During the summit, NATO adopted its “most comprehensive defense plans since the end of the Cold War” and endorsed a new Defense Production Action Plan. According to a report by Xinhua News Agency, under the new plans, NATO aims to have 300,000 troops fully ready. According to a statement published at the summit, NATO allies have also pledged to invest at least two per cent of their gross domestic product annually in the defence sector. However, only 11 out of 31 members have reached this target.
NATO leaders also promised more support to Ukraine and held an inaugural meeting of the new NATO-Ukraine Council with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, they failed to set a deadline for Ukraine’s membership in the coalition, which Zelensky called “unprecedented and absurd”. NATO members are at odds over how to bring Ukraine closer to their bloc. According to some reports, some Eastern European members are pushing for when Ukraine will join, but the US and Germany have not yet cleared their tracks. NATO invited the leaders of its partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region to participate in its summit for the second time and said that dialogue and cooperation will continue to deal with common security challenges.
In the statement, the military bloc mentioned China 15 times, saying that “China’s declared ambitions and policies challenge our interests, security and values” and that China has posed challenges to the alliance. China completely rejected such claims on Wednesday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “What is said in the NATO statement is completely contrary to the truth and is born from the mentality of the Cold War. China strongly opposes it.” Ahead of the one-day summit, protests against NATO took place in several European countries, including Britain and France.