NATO declares China 'a systematic challenge to the global order'
DW, 15 Jun 2021
NATO leaders had branded China a security risk to the alliance and criticized its "opaque" weapons development programs. "China's stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security," NATO leaders had said in a communique. The final communique was NATO's first change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
China on Tuesday accused NATO of "creating confrontations" after the alliance's members pledged to cooperate to counter "systemic challenges" posed by Beijing's policies. In a statement, the Chinese Mission to the European Union called for NATO to "view China's development rationally, stop exaggerating various forms of 'China threat theory' and not to use China's legitimate interests and legal rights as excuses for manipulating group politics [while] artificially creating confrontations."
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about Chinese investment in Western infrastructure, likely referring to Chinese projects in Africa and a row over 5G networks built by Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. "China is coming closer to us. We see them in cyberspace, we see China in Africa, but we also see China investing heavily in our own critical infrastructure," Stoltenberg said. "We need to respond together as an alliance." However, Stoltenberg earlier stressed that: "We're not entering a new Cold War and China is not our adversary, not our enemy."
Joe Biden, who was attending the alliance's summit for the first time as president of the United States, urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China's authoritarianism. Over the weekend, Biden and his fellow G7 leaders also scolded China over its human rights record, called for Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and demanded a probe into the origins of the coronavirus in China. The G7 also announced a new infrastructure fund which Biden said would be "much more equitable" than China's Belt and Road Initiative.
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