Brussels, 13 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO allies today stood ready to support any military action by the United States to punish the perpetrators of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In an unprecedented decision in the alliance's 52-year history, the 19 member states last night invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter, under which an attack on one is to be treated as an attack on all.
NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said that if it is determined that the attack was carried out from abroad, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5.
"The (North Atlantic) Council agreed that if it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of the allies in Europe and in North America shall be considered an attack against them all."
China's Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Guangya said today in Beijing that any retaliatory action would have implications for other regions, and NATO should therefore first consult with countries outside the alliance.