hello there. this is the briefing, we saw mixed fortunes of the weather i'm sally bundock. across the uk on sunday, our top story: with breezy, windy conditions, evidence that president trump with showers across the north. or his campaign team colluded president trump claims victory with russia to influence further south unbroken sunshine. we saw 15.1 celsius after the mueller report says the 2016 election. there's no evidence his campaign but it stops short of completely in stjames‘s park, in london. colluded with russia over exonorating the president the windy showering conditions the 2016 us election. on accusations of across the north of the country has been attributed to this area of low pressure, obstruction of justice. which is continuing to push out into the near continent, suspicion of voting irregularities in thailand's a pro—military political party and allowing this big area of high election as preliminary results show in thailand has performed better pressure to topple in across the uk. a pro—army party taking than predicted in the country's a shock lead. first election since the army took so it will continue quite windy power five years ago. for the early hours of monday, across some eastern areas, perhaps a few showers. but elsewhere, lighter winds preliminary results show that the palang pracharath party won and lengthy clear skies. about 500,000 more votes than the main opposition. so it's going to be quite a chilly they fully back theresa may, but for how long? start to the day today with low two senior conservatives play down stock markets in asia single figures across the south talk of a coup ahead have fallen sharply during monday morning trading. and a touch of frost out of town, of another crucial week. the falls are being put it's showtime for apple — down to growing fears across more northern areas. the tech giant is set to announce of a global economic so a chilly start to monday, slowdown, and are linked its new tv subscription service later today, to the us yield curve. but at least largely dry and bright that is seen as an accurate predictor of recessions. with plenty of sunshine. tokyo's benchmark nikkei index dived more than 3%, the winds will be light too while hong kong's hang seng because high pressure will be dominating. so lots of sunshine across england and wales, and across scotland and northern ireland to begin with, but then skies will gradually turn index slumped by 2%. cloudier through the day as we see a weak warm front pushing off the atlantic, so it will blot now on bbc news, hardtalk. out all the sunshine.
we'll see a little bit of showery rain across the north and the west welcome to hardtalk, but some milder air moving in — from nato headquarters in brussels. 10—11 degrees, in fact, i'm stephen sackur. milder than it was on sunday. for england and wales, down into the channel islands, a glorious afternoon with widespread sunshine, light winds and temperatures around 13 degrees after what was the north atlantic treaty a cool start. 0rganisation is 70 years old this year, but despite its and then high pressure dominates achievements and longevity, the scene for the week ahead. celebrations are muted. slap bang on top of us, in fact, we will be drawing some drier air off the near continent. that's because nato‘s cohesion this is why we shouldn't see too and long—term viability are being questioned many problems with clouds and we should potentially see as never before. quite a bit of sunshine. so it's looking pretty good more than anything else, for the rest of the week. that is because the us is now mainly dry. quite warm by day but night led by a nato—sceptic president. will continue to be chilly, with a touch of mist and fog. my guest today isjens stoltenberg, this is the picture nato‘s secretary general. then for tuesday. is he simply papering over a chilly start, any mist clearing nato's widening cracks? away quickly and then we'll see plenty of sunshine. but into the afternoon, a bit of fairweather cloud tending to build up here and there. and to the very north of scotland, here we'll have a frontal system which will bring outbreaks of rain, mainly to the northern isles, where it will be quite breezy. a nice mild day, temperatures 13 or 1a celsius. a similar picture on wednesday.
jens stoltenberg, welcome to hardtalk. we start off quite cool, thank you so much for having me. a little bit of mist and fog around and that should clear quickly. i should start by wishing nato and then there's lots of sunshine through the afternoon. a happy 70th birthday, again, a bit of fairweather cloud building up here and there. but it is not a time for celebration, is it? the best of the sunshine will be nato, it seems to me, across england and wales. is facing a real crisis. a little bit warmer on wednesday. would you agree? 1a degrees in aberdeen, 15 degrees across central, it is a time for celebration southern and eastern because we have achieved a lot, parts of the country. and if anything, it turns even but it is not a time for complacency, because we still warmer towards the end of the week. have a lot to do. we could be looking at 17, 18, maybe 19 degrees across the south—east. but like i mentioned, i think we see a paradox, warm by day but still quite and many people in europe chilly at night. and north america question the strength of the transatlantic bond, the strength of nato, but at the same time the reality is that we are doing more together now than we have done for many years. increasing readiness of forces, presence of nato troops in the eastern part of the alliance for the first time in history, the us is increasing its presence in europe and and european allies are stepping up. so the paradox is that north america
and europe are doing more together than for many many years. on a day—to—day basis of course nato continues to function and do important things, but you just alluded to the fundamental problem when you said people are questioning nato's purpose. the most important person questioning nato's purpose is us president donald trump. listen to these words from two former us ambassadors to nato. "president trump's open ambivalence about nato's value to the united states has hurtled the alliance into its most worrisome crisis in memory". would you agree? no, i don't agree, because i don't think we are in crisis. i totally accept that we have differences, some disagreements, but the reality is that we are actually able to deliver and work together. hang on, you have already said that, but if we go into specifics, they itemise — donald trump's public questioning of america's article 5 commitment to its allies, his persistent criticism of europe 5 democratic leaders, and his embrace
of antidemocratic members of the nato alliance, his continued weakness in failing to confront nato's primary adversary, president vladimir putin. these are all issues that donald trump has put onto the table, and which undermine the cohesion of nato. the message from president trump and from the us is that they are committed to nato, but they want european allies to do more. and i agree. i agree that european allies have to do more, and they are now doing more, investing more in our collective defence... we have just heard from germany that despite the promises they made to raise their defence spending, they weren't going to reach the 2% that nato allies are supposed to reach, but they would reach i.5% in the next five years. they have now reneged on that and it is clearly not
going to happen. well, germany, as many other european allies, they were reducing defence spending for many years. last year germany has started to increase significantly. also, the budget for next year is an additional increase in defence... but it will go down again by 2023. did you not catch the finance minister issuing his latest outlook on the budget, saying that defence spending may well be back at 1.25% in 2023? what germany has done is submitted a plan to us on the defence investment pledge, the pledge to move towards 2%, and that is that they will increase defence spending by 80% from 2014 to 2024, the decade they promise to increase... did you catch what the finance minister said a few days ago? i am expecting that germany will deliver on what they have promised. the americans don't. the us ambassador to germany, richard grenell, he heard what the finance minister said about the budget outlook on defence spending, and he said this is a very disturbing signal to nato, and now german politicians are threatening to throw him out
of the country. this is the reality of nato today. so far, germany has done what they promised, and that is to increase defence spending. that is also the case for the budget now presented. that is a budget that now will be discussed, and thought the final details are not yet decided, i hope they can improve even more. and then... what if they don't? the german minister says they can't, so what if they don't? the finance minister has agreed with what the government has promised nato in the plan they have submitted to us, which is to increase by 80%. so far they are following the plan and i expect them to continue to do so. we know because of investigative reporting by the new york times that several times during the last year, donald trump, to his closest aides and associates in the white house, questioned america's continued membership of nato. he talked openly about leaving. given what we have just discussed about germany and its complete
failure to match what trump wants, the 2% spending level, why would you believe for one second that over the next two years donald trump won't think even harder about pulling the us out of nato? because president trump has stated clearly, publicly and in meetings, he did so at the summit injuly, he did so in the state of the union speech a few weeks ago, that he and the us are committed to nato. why... but he think the us must consider leaving? for me what matters is partly what president trump states publicly in speeches, in brussels and washington and elsewhere, he said last time he was 100% behind nato, but this is a commitment to nato not only in words but also in deeds. after the cold war the us reduced its military presence in europe, now it is increasing its presence in europe. with a new armoured
brigade, with more — with leading one of the battle groups in the baltic countries in poland. there is more funding for prepositioned for equipment and exercises, so the reality is that both in words and actions, we see more us commitment and presence in europe. we will get back to that because it is important, injust a moment. on this notion that on your 70th birthday, nato faces uncertainty and a sense of crisis that we haven't seen for a long time. there is one other element., it's notjust about donald trump, but there are other things happening. for example, brexit. one of your key european member states, britain, is in political turmoil. we do not know as we sit here just how brexit will end up, but it may be — and emmanuel macron said this recently at the eu summit — if britain over the next few days or weeks votes or decides on a no deal exit from the european union, that is going to fundamentally challenge everything about the way europe works,
including on security relationships. how worried are you by that? brexit is a very serious issue, but brexit will not change the uk's relationship to nato, it will change the uk's relationship to the european union. of course, but it will change the security relationships between britain and eu member states who are also nato member states. if anything, brexit will make nato even more important, because it will be a more important platform for european allies to work together. and i really believe that if brexit happens, or even though brexit will happen, we need to strengthen nato as both a political and military alliance, and bring together european allies and also european and north american allies. how worried are you that a no deal brexit could potentially poison relations between britain and other key european members of your alliance?
when i speak to european leaders, and leaders in the united kingdom, they all convey the same message to me, that brexit will not weaken their security cooperation within nato, if anything the opposite. it will strengthen the importance of nato in working together on security and defence. when you spoke about donald trump's attitude to nato, you pointed out that nato is making new commitments on the ground in the european theatre. we heard just the other day in washington the us top military chief in europe, general curtis scaparrotti, saying: "i am not comfortable with the defence posture we have in europe, in particular when you look at the modernisation of the russian forces we face". he talked about the growing threat from russia, he talked about fundamental weaknesses
in the nato alliance‘s surveillance and reconnaissance capacity, apart from anything else. do you recognise that? he is a supreme commander in europe and i talk often with him. he is not comfortable, are you? that is exactly the reason why we are at the moment in the midst of the biggest adaptation of nato in a generation, the biggest reinforcement of collective defence in decades. for the first time in our history, we have combat—ready battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance. we have tripled the size of the nato response force and we are further increasing the readiness of forces. we are establishing two new commands, one in germany and one in the us, and we are exercising more than ever before... if i may say so, the bottom line is that despite the americans sending in these high—profile new b—52 bombers to the uk, despite the new troops that are being sent from the us poland, despite all the things are talking
about, russia doesn't fear nato, and russia is prepared to ignore all the warnings and the military deployments, and the potential punishments that you talk about. nato's main duty is to provide credible deterrence and defence, to send a clear message to any potential adversary that an attack on one ally with trigger a response from the whole alliance. and we have successfully been able to do that for 70 years. no nato ally has been attacked for 70 years. sure, but other european countries on the fringes of nato who would like to be in nato have been attacked. we have seen vladimir putin celebrating the last few days the fifth anniversary of the of crimea. nato said that could not stand, five years later here we sit, vladimir putin is very happy, nato's threats, the talks of sanctions and punishments, have not worked. i am not saying that the ukraine is not a serious issue and nato has
responded to what russia did in ukraine, but that doesn't change the message that nato has helped create and unprecedented period of peace in europe, 70 years of peace is unprecedented. i'm thinking about how i would be listening to your words if i were a ukrainian. what has nato's response over the past five years achieved in ukraine? we have provided strong political and practical support. what have you achieved? training ukrainian troops, nato allies helped to do that. nato established different programs, trust funds, we helped them with command control, logistics, modernised their armed forces, their security institutions, so we... have you forced russia to pull out its special forces from east ukraine? no, but ukraine is not an nato ally. ukraine is a partner, we help and support them, but it is important not to blur
the line between an ally and a partner. 0ur security guarantees apply to nato allies, and no nato ally has been attacked... recently, president poroshenko pushed through a change to the ukrainian constitution to commit ukraine to the pursuit of nato membership and indeed eu membership as well. from what you are saying it is quite clear that ukraine stands no chance of being an actual member of nato? ukraine receives a lot of support from nato and nato allies. and they are grateful for that. we have also helped them to curb incidence with their capabilities and we will continue to help them do that. and helping georgia and other black sea countries. what are the chances of ukraine becoming a full nato member? i will not speculate about the chances, but nato allies have reiterated the decisions we made some years ago that ukraine will become a member of nato, but we haven't set any timeline for that.
just on this point you make about the actions taken to deter russia — and my point that russia doesn't seem deterred — would you accept the word of, for example, the cyber security consultancy firm fireeye that russians even today, as we speak, are continuing to disrupt european elections and infrastructure as best they can with cyber warfare. again, the words, threats, setting up of a new cyber operations command in nato, has done nothing to deter russia? it has done a lot to defend our cyber network... but aren't the russians, as of today, as far as you know, are they still hacking european infrastructure and, indeed, trying to disrupt european elections, including the forthcoming european...? i am not saying this is not a challenge. but i'm just asking you as head of nato, are the russians doing it today?
they are trying to — we see many examples of russia trying to hack and to go into our cyber networks. that's exactly why we have significantly improved the defences of our cyber networks and are able to defend our networks with the most advanced systems in the world. we are continuing to do that and we are improving our defences and we are also developing new ways of working together, helping different allies with also improving their cyber defences. so, yes, we are responding to a more assertive russia, also in cyberspace. on that point of fact — yes or no — do you see efforts on the part of russia to disrupt the european elections due to be held in may? we see reports from different nato allies that they are concerns about that. it's for that european union, they're responsible for those elections, i will not go into their responsibilities, but we are ready to help and support and we will work
closely with the european union on strengthening cyber defences. we, for instance, share malware information realtime. we have a close corporation with the european union. —— we have a close cooperation with the european union. let's go through a few particularly challenging arenas where nato is involved, where you, i imagine, have invested a lot of time and energy thinking about the best way forward. let's start with syria. donald trump took everybody by surprise late last year by declaring he was going to pull out the 2,000 military personnel the us has in northern syria. we now see claims that the last is — so—called islamic state — stronghold has fallen in northern syria. do you believe that the pentagon pulling out all us forces remains a wise strategic decision? i believe that the global commission and all nato allies — and nato is part of that global coalition to defeat isis — has made enormous progress. not so many years ago, isis controlled a territory as big as as the united kingdom — millions of people.
now they have lost the territory they controlled. that is a big achievement. then we have — and nato will continue to be part of that coalition, for instance, by having a training mission in iraq. because our idea is that we need to train local forces, enabling them to prevent isis... but i asked you specifically about the pullout of us forces. because interestingly, despite donald trump's words, the pentagon warned just last month that is can still count on the loyalty of tens of thousands of fighters who are now dispersed throughout syria and more particularly iraqi. so pulling out us military personnel, simple question — do you think that is the right thing to do? nato is part of that coalition but nato is not on the ground in northern syria... iamjust asking... ..therefore i will not give advice on the military posture in northern syria simply because we know it is a difficult issue, also because two nato allies have a different views on that. turkey has one view and the unites states
has another view. what i welcome is the fact that the united states and turkey are sitting down and talking, also at nato meetings, on how to address the specific situation in northern syria. the broader picture is that we have made enormous progress and great achievements in the fight against daesh. the fight is not over. we need to continue to fight daesh in the middle east and elsewhere. but the nato idea is that, the more we can build local capacity, train local forces so they can stabilize their own country, the better. you allude to the very real political problems between turkey and the united states — two key members of your organization. turkey is intent on buying russian 5400 missiles — very sophisticated missiles which the americans believe would fundamentally compromise their security as part of the nato alliance. are you worried about that missile purchase? that is a difficult issue because we have not discussed it and addressed it for a long time... do you want the turkish government to abandon...
it is a national decision... ..the missile purchase... ..what kind of equipment different nato allies are buying at the same —— at the same time we know that this is something which creates difficulties in the relationship between turkey and the united states, not least related to the f45 fighter jets which turkey also want to buy. therefore, again, ijust welcome the fact that we continue to address the issue, and turkey and the united states are talking... you welcome the facts that we continue to address the issue — with respect, secretary general, you are not taking any position at all. i am ask you a very simple question — do you think turkey should not but the russian missiles? that would not be helpful. the best thing i can do is to try to find a solution between united states and turkey. if i went out publicly and gave them advice, i think that would not make my work easier and we would not move closer to a solution. let's talk about one other very specific situation you have to face afghanistan.
again, the americans, donald trump's administration, appears to be intent on at least cutting by 50% the number of american troops in afghanistan in very short order. he wants to focus on counter—insurgency ops and stop the work alongside the afghan military training and helping the afghan military. are you pleased with that? i am pleased that we now see progress when it comes to peace talks for the first time in many, many years. yeah, but before we get to peace talks, there are many european nations who are part of the training programme in afghanistan who worry that, if the united states pulls out, it is basically going to undermine the entire programme. but it has been clearly stated by the united states, several times — press reports came out — that no decision has been taken. these are issues we have discussed with the us into the nato framework... you do not want them to go ahead with that? no—one wants to stay in afghanistan longer than necessary, but the thing is we went
into afghanistan together, all nato allies and united states, we will make decisions on the future posture in afghanistan together, and when we eventually leave, we will leave together, but we are now supporting the efforts to find a negotiated peaceful deal solution and the reason why we provide military support, why we are present in afghanistan, is to create the conditions for a political peaceful solution. so, if everybody is working together in afghanistan, do you support the fact that the us government is locked now senior talks with taliban leaders in qatar and elsewhere, against the wishes, it seems, of the afghan government. with an afghan national security adviser, hamdullah mohib, saying earlier this month that afghan security forces were being "sold out" by the us in what was a humiliation for the afghan government. you have a stake in afghanistan. are you supporting those talks that the us is conducting against, it seems, the wishes
of the afghan government? yes, i support those talks because i think they are the first step towards a potential political peaceful solution to the conflict in afghanistan. but one of the issues they will discuss in those talks is how to organise, how to facilitate an afghan reconciliation process, because there will be no lasting peace in afghanistan without an afghan owned, an afghan led... sure, but the afghan government has been cut out of these talks. this is the first step. i think this is the only way now to get the peace process on track. we have run through a lot of different issues and i appreciate your time. we've got time for one more, and it's perhaps the biggest question facing nato outside of russia, and that is china, because donald trump has made it clear in recent weeks that he believes nato should now turn its head towards china and look at how it can collectively combat what the us sees as dangerous efforts by china to use its leverage and its economic muscle to get
into infrastructure, telecoms, inside nato member states. do you see this as something that nato now has to address? i see that china as a rising power, a growing economy, investing more in military capability — the second largest defence budget in the world next to united states. nato has no plans whatsoever to move into south east asia but, of course, china is coming closer to us, in europe, in the arctic, in africa... that is a very interesting phrase, "china is coming closer to us". let me ask you as a last, simple question, does nato now regard china as a strategic security threat that it, as an alliance, must address? no, we do not regard them as a threat but we see the challenges related to the rise of china and we have to assess the consequences for our security by that. jens stoltenberg, i thank you very much for being on hardtalk.