NATO leader greets US Congress for 70th Anniversary

World Today

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, top left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., top right, addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, having been invited by the bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The head of NATO has made a historic address to U.S lawmakers to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the military alliance.

The U.S. Congress invited Jens Stoltenberg to demonstrate its unwavering support for NATO amid rising tensions with Russia over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty aimed at preventing a nuclear confrontation.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Donald Trump may have been ambivalent about NATO – but not U.S. lawmakers.

They invited NATO’s Secretary General to address a joint meeting of Congress for the first time in the military alliance’s 70 year history.

In the past, containing a resurgent Russia was NATO’s preoccupation – and there are concerns history may be repeating itself.

“We do not want a new arms race. We do not want a new Cold War. But we must not be naive. An agreement that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe,” said Jens Stoltenberg the NATO Secretary-General.

He was referring to Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in a Cold War-era nuclear weapons ban treaty it signed with the U.S to ban ground-launched cruise missiles.

Washington is threatening to follow suit after withdrawing from the treaty in February and even start testing missiles this summer.

Trump’s individual relationship with NATO has been turbulent, partly because he wants closer relations with Russia, though his administration is pressuring fellow NATO member Turkey to drop an arms purchase from Moscow.

And while Trump’s complaints about members not paying enough have been largely resolved, Stoltenberg was candid about the dispute.

“We have overcome our disagreements in the past,” said Stoltenberg.

Those challenges include cyber warfare, Islamic terror and the rise of China as a military power – discussions NATO foreign ministers will have in earnest on Thursday.

Calvin Dark on analyzes Jens Stoltenberg’s historic address to the US Congress

Calvin Dark of PR firm RC communications, analyzes NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s historic address to the U.S. Congress with CGTN’s Elaine Reyes.