In first, NATO lays out ‘challenges’ from China

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 30 2022 05:55 AM

NATO accused China of targeting NATO members with its 'malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric'. EPA-EFE/file
NATO accused China of targeting NATO members with its "malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric". EPA-EFE/file

NATO on Wednesday, for the first time in its guiding blueprint, said China's might challenges the alliance and Beijing's closer ties to Moscow went against Western interests.

"The People's Republic of China's (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values," NATO's strategic concept published at a summit in Madrid said. 

"It strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains."

NATO accused China of targeting NATO members with its "malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric". 

Leading NATO power the United States has pushed for the alliance to pay greater attention to China, despite reluctance from some allies to switch attention away from its focus on Europe.

NATO's guiding document – updated for the first time since 2010 – said Russia was the "most significant and direct threat to allies' security" after its invasion of Ukraine.

And it said that increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing "run counter to our values and interests". 

In a sign of the increasing concerns about China, the leaders from regional partners Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were attending a NATO summit for the first time. 

"China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

"China is not our adversary. But we must be clear eyed about the serious challenges it represents."

Stoltenberg said "NATO will step up cooperation with our Indo-Pacific partners, including on cyber defense, new technologies, maritime security, climate change and countering disinformation".

"These global challenges demand global solutions," he said, adding: "We will also do more with our partners."

Ahead of the unveiling of NATO's new strategy, Beijing already pushed back against the alliance for increasing its attention on Asia. 

"In recent years, NATO has been pushing for expanding its area and field, advocating group confrontation," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. 

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