For the first time, NATO includes China in a summit declaration. The alliance wants to include China in future defense planning. However, the alliance does not see the People’s Republic as an enemy.
Brussels / Munich – Dealing with China currently dominates the Western alliances. After the G7 countries decided on an infrastructure program worth billions for poorer countries at the weekend in response to Beijing’s New Silk Road and for the first time included passages critical of China in their final declaration, the country is now on the agenda at today’s NATO summit. After the alliance was practically paralyzed under the former US President Donald Trump, NATO now wants to be more active again – and also increasingly orientate itself globally. In addition to Russia, NATO is increasingly seeing China as a strategic rival and is trying to keep the global influence of the rising superpower under control.
NATO summit: member states demand transparency from China in their nuclear arsenal
At their summit on Monday, the 30 member states urged the government in Beijing to engage in dialogue and demanded transparency with a view to the people’s republic’s growing nuclear arsenal. The alliance will in future involve China “with a view to defending the security interests of the alliance,” said the summit’s final statement. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made it clear, however: “We are not entering into a new Cold War, and China is not our adversary and not our enemy.”
In the final declaration, NATO also calls on China to “adhere to its international obligations” and to live up to its “role as a great power”. In addition, the People’s Republic should create transparency with regard to its rapidly growing nuclear capabilities and take confidence-building measures. According to information from the German Press Agency, the declaration also includes concerns about the expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal, the regular use of disinformation, a lack of transparency, but also violations of fundamental values from NATO’s point of view. At the same time, NATO emphasized that it wants to maintain a constructive dialogue with China if possible and that it is also open to cooperation in areas such as climate protection.
Merkel at NATO summit: do not overestimate the danger posed by China
Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the planned revision of the NATO strategy concept as an important contribution to the future dealings with Russia and China. It should be ready in 2022 – China is not mentioned in the previous strategic plan from 2010. As at the G7 summit in Great Britain, the Chancellor once again acted as an advocate for a continued dialogue with China at NATO: “China is a rival on many issues. And China is also a partner for many questions at the same time. ”Merkel campaigned in Brussels to find the“ right balance ”. Possible threats from China should not be negated, but neither should one overestimate them, said the CDU politician. She also made it clear that her main concern is not China, but Russia – especially since Moscow does not see NATO as a partner, but as an opponent.
The driving force behind NATO’s new tougher line towards the People’s Republic is therefore, as was the case with the G7, US President Joe Biden. Biden’s national security strategy states that China is “the only competitor that is potentially able to combine its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power in such a way that it can present a sustainable challenge to a stable and open international system”. Even before the summit, NATO chief Stoltenberg had repeatedly emphasized that China already had the largest navy and the second largest defense budget in the world after the USA. “China does not share our values,” said Stoltenberg recently to the Canadian TV broadcaster CBC.
China: Criticism of the final declaration of the G7 meeting on Sunday
Meanwhile, China criticized the G7’s final communique on Sunday, which was critical of China. It “continues to reveal the sinister intentions of the US and some other countries,” said a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London. In the pandemic, the economic crisis and climate change, cooperation is necessary. “But the summit shows the world the practice of ‘small circles’ and the bloc and power politics that artificially create confrontation and division.” China is a “peace-loving country” that advocates cooperation. But it is also true to its principles. According to experts, Beijing views the formation of alliances and cooperation between groups of states with a certain degree of concern. Among other things, China therefore repeatedly calls on the EU to achieve strategic independence. The EU is currently working on a new China strategy. Tomorrow, Tuesday, the EU-US summit will take place – it is to be expected that China will also come up there again. (ck, with dpa and AFP)