NATO adopts tougher stance on China

(VOVWORLD) - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held an in-person summit in Brussels on Monday attended by US President Joe Biden. NATO members released a joint statement highlighting China-related issues, besides many internal and external affairs.     
NATO adopts tougher stance on China - ảnh 1NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Photo: Getty)

Analysts say that by mentioning security threats and challenges posed by China, NATO has adopted a tough stance on China and shown a determination to impose a tougher relationship.

NATO considers China a systemic challenge

The joint statement calls China a security threat and systemic challenge, saying NATO needs to address this threat together as an alliance. It says “China's stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security.”  

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said China’s expanding military presence from the Baltic to Africa has forced NATO to prepare. He added “China is coming closer to us. We see them in cyberspace, we see China in Africa and in the Arctic, but we also see China investing heavily in our own critical infrastructure and trying to control it. We need to respond together as an alliance.”

NATO issued its joint statement a day after the Group of Seven, whose members are mostly NATO members, released a communique mentioning a range of issues relating to China, including human rights in the Xinjiang region, the degree of autonomy in Hong Kong, and fragile stability across the Taiwan Strait. These sensitive issues have always been found provocative by China.

At a NATO Ministerial Meeting on March 23, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on NATO to focus on challenges posed by China to the international order. 

During a US Senate hearing in April, General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said a Chinese naval base in western Africa is a top concern in the global competition of world powers.

Analysts say NATO, led by the US, is toughening its stance on China. So although the NATO General Secretary said China is not a competitor or adversary and NATO’s actions are designed only to defend the alliance, a strong Chinese reaction is inevitable.   

China’s reaction

On Monday, China’s mission to the European Union urged NATO to stop exaggerating the “China threat theory.” China said in a response posted on the mission's website that NATO has "slandered" China's peaceful development, misjudged the international situation, and shown a "Cold War mentality" by saying that China poses “systemic challenges.”  

China says it pursues only defensive policies and its military modernization is appropriate and transparent. China is always committed to peaceful development, it says, but never abandons its right to protect itself. It will consistently defend its sovereignty, security, and development interests. China said it will closely watch NATO’s strategic adjustments as well as its policies toward China. China’s mission said Beijing will not pose a systemic challenge to anyone, but if anyone wants to pose a systemic challenge to it, it will not remain indifferent.

Beijing has also responded to the G7’s statement by saying that G7 has intervened in China’s internal affairs.

Analysts say the NATO-China relationship has changed to one which poses new risks.

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