As NATO leaders collect for a crucial summit, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has referred to as for the transatlantic safety alliance to confront challenges posed by China and reply to Beijing’s rising financial, political and army energy.
Stoltenberg on Monday denied that Western powers and China have been getting into a “new Cold War”, however mentioned Beijing didn’t share the values of the 30-member group.
“China is not our adversary, not our enemy. But we need to address together as an alliance the challenges that the rise of China poses to our security,” he instructed reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, earlier than leaders started arriving for the summit.
“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.”
NATO leaders are anticipated to model China a safety threat on the summit, US President Joe Biden’s first since profitable the election final 12 months.
Diplomats instructed Reuters the ultimate communique wouldn’t name China an adversary however would display concern, describing a “systemic” problem to Atlantic safety because it joins Russia with army drills, launches cyberattacks and quickly builds up its navy.
The anticipated transfer comes days after G7 nations scolded Beijing over its alleged human rights abuses towards the minority Uighur inhabitants in its Xinjiang area.
The group of rich nations additionally referred to as for a excessive diploma of autonomy in Hong Kong and demanded a full and thorough investigation of the origins of the coronavirus in China.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned NATO, of which the United Kingdom is a member, didn’t need a new chilly conflict with China however mentioned Beijing posed challenges for the alliance.
“I think people see challenges, they see things that we have to manage together, but they also see opportunities,” he mentioned as he arrived to the summit.
China has persistently dismissed mounting Western criticism.
The G7’s conclusions have been “baseless accusations”, China’s embassy in London mentioned on Monday.
“Stop slandering China, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop harming China’s interests,” a spokesman mentioned.
‘Dual-track approach’ to Russia
Stoltenberg mentioned NATO leaders additionally wish to reaffirm the alliance’s “dual-track approach” to Russia involving army deterrence, together with the deployment of alliance troops within the Baltic nations and Poland, and dialogue.
He instructed The Times Radio on Sunday that relations between NATO and Moscow have been now at their “lowest point since the end of the Cold War”.
“We see the willingness to use military force against neighbours; Ukraine, Georgia. But we also see cyberattacks,” he mentioned.
“We see attempts to meddle in our political democratic processes, to undermine the trust in our institutions and efforts to divide us.”
As she arrived on the assembly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned: “The issues on the agenda today concern us all. First of all the challenge we are facing: Russia but also the Indo-Pacific region with China in increasing measure.
“Hybrid challenges are becoming increasingly important: cyber attacks and, especially with regard to Russia, disinformation campaigns.”
Merkel and different NATO leaders count on Biden to recommit Washington to the alliance’s collective defence after his predecessor Donald Trump’s confrontational rhetoric at summits created an impression of disaster, envoys instructed Reuters.
“We believe that NATO is vital to our ability to maintain American security and I want them to know that NATO is a sacred obligation,” Biden mentioned on Sunday because the G7 summit closed, earlier than flying to Brussels.
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Brussels, mentioned: “What Biden will be trying to do is rebuild trust with allies, because that trust has been badly eroded in the past few years under Donald Trump.”
The NATO assembly comes forward of the US president’s much-anticipated talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva.