Stuart Peach, chief of the defence staff said the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s modernisation of the once mighty Soviet navy now posed a serious threat to Western communications.
The paper also contained several bracketed sentences that had not yet been agreed, including a proposal by the Greens to withdraw the NATO nuclear weapons that remain on German soil, and to ban all weapons sales to countries involved in the war in Yemen.
NATO official said: “Spain is a committed ally, which makes important contributions to our shared security. The Catalonia issue is a domestic matter which should be resolved within Spain’s constitutional order.”
The US Department of Defense said this was the first time NATO’s ‘smart defense’ concept was demonstrated with some ships providing protection to other vessels targeting ballistic missiles.
NATO, which has three of the world’s nuclear powers in its ranks, strongly criticised the treaty, saying it risked undermining the international response to North Korea’s atomic weapons programme.
Stoltenberg said Afghan forces, which have suffered thousands of casualties fighting the insurgency, had been “managing a very difficult situation”.
The visit comes after US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground as they seek to reestablish Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.
The unannounced high-level visit comes as Afghan security forces struggle to beat back the Taliban which has been on the offensive since the withdrawal of US-led NATO combat troops at the end of 2014.
Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region and fighting a Kurdish insurgency on its soil, has warned that any break-up of neighbouring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict.
Stoltenberg said he agrees with Trump that all NATO members need to increase defense spending so there is “fair burden sharing.” Stoltenberg said Turkey is looking into the possibility of buying air defense systems from France and Italy in addition to the one it recently purchased from Russia.
“The last option may include a ban on using Pakistani land for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) supplies to Afghanistan,” according to the newspaper. However, the policy will be implemented after the approval of National Security Committee.
“The Afghan government’s expansion of irregular forces could have enormously dangerous consequences for civilians,” said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
To shoot down a ballistic missile from North Korea would require a new generation of interceptor, the Block II, which is still in development. It is capable of downing ballistic rockets earlier and at a much higher altitude.
“We call on Korea to abandon its nuclear programmes, it’s missile programmes, and to refrain from more testing, because this is a blatant violation of several UN security resolutions and it’s a threat to international peace and stability.”
NATO is not directly involved in the crisis, which saw Pyongyang carry out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test a week ago, but has repeatedly called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.