Norway concerned NATO chief taking on too much with reform plan

FILE PHOTO: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits troops of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Pabrade, Lithuania

Norway objects to some of NATO’s proposed reforms including steps to help stem climate change, fearing the Western alliance could take on too many extra responsibilities, Prime Minister Erna Solberg was quoted as saying on Friday.

At a June 14 summit, NATO members including Norway will discuss Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s plan to revitalise the alliance, known as NATO 2030, addressing Russia, terrorism, cyber attacks, technology, climate change and the rise of China.

Solberg said Stoltenberg – himself a Norwegian – risked taking on too many responsibilities. “I advocate great restraint with regards to which way we use NATO and where it can be useful,” Solberg told Norwegian daily Verdens Gang (VG).

“There’s no point in NATO being involved in everything. NATO is first and foremost a defence alliance for the member countries,” she said.

Solberg said the scope of Stoltenberg’s vision should be watered down, particularly when it comes to climate change and non-military crisis management. “A military alliance can’t solve the climate challenges,” Solberg told VG.

She also sought to draw a firm line between political discussions and military engagement on the part of the U.S.-led alliance.

“It may very well be that we must discuss China’s military activity, but that doesn’t mean that NATO should have a role,” she said. “It’s important to separate those two things.”

Tensions simmer over China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea including the self-ruled island of Taiwan. U.S. warships have passed through the South China Sea more often in recent years in a show of force against the Chinese claims.

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