Washington, Apr 9 (Sputnik) US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin plans to discuss countering Russia and China during talks at NATO headquarters on an overseas trip that begins on Saturday, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
“Secretary Austin will next travel to Belgium, to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on how the Alliance is tackling destabilizing behavior by Russia, a rising China, terrorism, and global challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change,” the release said on Thursday.
Austin will also visit the UK, Germany and Israel during his trip.
“Secretary Austin will meet with his counterparts and other senior officials to discuss the importance of international defense relationships, and reinforce the United States’ commitment to deterrence and defense, burden sharing, and enduring trans-Atlantic security,” the Pentagon said.
In Israel Austin will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz. He plans to reaffirm US commitment to the strategic partnership with Israel and its qualitative military edge.
In Germany, Austin will discuss with Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Chancellery Foreign and Security Policy Adviser Jan Hecker bilateral defense relationship, combating “the malign influence of… shared strategic rivals” and US force posture in Germany and elsewhere.
“The Secretary will also visit US European Command and US Africa Command headquarters in Germany to meet with US troops and senior commanders and highlight his vision for security interests in the region,” according to the statement.
The trip will conclude with travel to the United Kingdom for a meeting with Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace. Austin will reaffirm the importance of US-UK defense cooperation to meet global security challenges.