Jens Stoltenberg at NATO conference 23Z1019 CREDIT NATO TV

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Picture: NATO TV).

NATO

NATO Chief: Arms Control Must Adapt To 'New Threats'

Jens Stoltenberg said NATO must "consider how to develop new rules and standards" to counter emerging technologies.

Jens Stoltenberg at NATO conference 23Z1019 CREDIT NATO TV

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Picture: NATO TV).

Arms control is "under serious stress" and needs to "adapt" to remain effective, the NATO Secretary General has said. 

Jens Stoltenberg made the comments at an Alliance conference in Brussels.

He warned how the latest developments in areas including cyber, artificial intelligence and biotech means they can "all be weaponised". 

"In general, their military use is not constrained by international rules and regulations," Mr Stoltenberg said.

"This also shows that the arms control architecture is under serious stress - from Russia, from new players and from new technologies.

"So, if arms control is to remain effective it needs to adapt.

"Arms control has traditionally been about counting warheads, controlling numbers and distances.

"This is still relevant. But there are new threats on the field."

Mr Stoltenberg said developments in technology can pose new threats (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Mr Stoltenberg said the alliance must "consider how to develop new rules and standards" to counter emerging technologies.

He said the Non-Proliferation Treaty must be preserved and that there is a need to "modernise" the Vienna Document which is designed to promote trust and show transparency among states signed to it.

In August, the US and Russia withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty - prompting fears of a new global arms race.

The treaty, which was signed in 1987, prohibited the two countries from owning any surface-launched missile that had a range of between 500 and 5,500 km (310 and 3,420 miles).

Speaking at the conference, Mr Stoltenberg said Russia has been "violating" the treaty for years and have "ignored repeated calls" to return to compliance.

"No treaty can keep us safe if it is just respected by one side," he said.

Chinese Navy review in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018
The NATO leader said China has "major responsibilities" (Picture: PA).

However, the NATO leader outlined other countries of concern.

He accused North Korea and Iran of "blatantly ignoring or breaking" global rules and "spreading dangerous missile technology around the world". 

Mr Stoltenberg also mentioned China and its increased military presence.

While he said Beijing is not violating any treaty, he admitted: "It is time for China to participate in arms control."

Mr Stoltenberg was speaking ahead of a meeting with defence ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.