China on Monday rejected NATO’s statement branding Beijing of presenting “systemic challenges,” saying that it represents “a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the EU said China is committed to a defence policy “that is defensive in nature,” and its pursuit of defence and military modernization is “justified, reasonable, open and transparent”, Xinhua reported.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries, has branded China as presenting “systemic challenges” in a statement and vowed to counter Beijing’s rise.
At the first meeting of NATO since 2019, China was central to the discussions. The NATO leaders called out China’s “assertive behaviour” and expressed concerns over Beijing’s coercive policies, South China Morning Post reported. “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security,” the statement said.
Our NATO Alliance is stronger than ever. Today I’m joining our 29 allies to discuss our collective defense — including from Russian aggression, strategic challenges from China, malicious cyber activity, terrorism, and climate change.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 14, 2021
“We are concerned by those coercive policies which stand in contrast to the fundamental values enshrined in the Washington Treaty,” a reference to the Nato founding charter.
In a news conference after the summit’s conclusion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the body was concerned that China was “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, with more warheads and a large number of sophisticated, sophisticated delivery systems”, as well as its military cooperation with Russia and its “use of misinformation”.
“Nato leaders call on China to uphold its international commitments, and to act responsibly in the international system, including in space, cyber, and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power,” Stoltenberg said.
— Atlantic Council (@AtlanticCouncil) June 7, 2021
According to South China Morning Post, the 79-point statement devoted three paragraphs and 10 mentions to China.
Earlier, asked if there was a “line” China would need to cross to be upgraded from “systemic challenge” to “adversary”, Stoltenberg said that “we’re not in the business of defining exact lines, but we are addressing together the fact that China is soon [going to be] the biggest economy in the world, they will have the second biggest defence budget and the biggest navy”.
“China is increasingly running up against Nato, whether it be in Africa, in the Mediterranean, or more specifically in the Arctic, as they are trying to engage more,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking at the Brussels Forum, a think tank-organised event running alongside the Nato summit.
This comes as tensions between China and western countries have escalated. The event is the manifestation of US President Joe Biden’s plans to rebuild the transatlantic alliance, with an expressed aim of heading off threats posed by China.
(With ANI Inputs)