China calls on NATO chief to keep allies out of the Indo-Pacific
A senior Chinese envoy took advantage of an unprecedented conversation with the head of NATO to warn the transatlantic alliance to stay out of the Indo-Pacific.
“In recent years, some NATO members have sent ships and planes close to China,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, according to a Chinese summary. “NATO should stick to its original geographic positioning and play a constructive role in ensuring peaceful and stable regional development.”
NATO has watched China skeptically in recent years when Beijing declared itself a “nearby Arctic” power and entered into a partnership with Russia that brought Chinese warships into the Baltic Sea in 2017 to use economic maneuvers to gain strategic advantages in Europe, says Stoltenberg Efforts within NATO to consider the possibility of a new threat from an emerging communist power – though it was rooted further east than the Soviet Union in Moscow when the alliance first met in 1949.
“The Secretary General reminded that NATO does not see China as an adversary, but called on China to comply with its international obligations and to act responsibly in the international system,” said Stoltenberg, according to a reading of the appeal published by NATO. “He expressed NATO’s concern about China’s coercive policies, the expansion of the nuclear arsenal and the lack of transparency in its military modernization.”
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For most of its existence, NATO has focused on security in Europe and North America. Yet US appeal to the Alliance’s collective defense pledge led the bloc to Afghanistan for two decades of conflict. Several of the leading NATO members have significant geopolitical interests in the Indo-Pacific. The United States has several important allies in the region – from Australia to South Korea and Japan, for example – and important American territories. Likewise, France has considerable territorial possessions, and the US and UK have particularly close alliances with the Australians.
“The Secretary General called on China to engage in a meaningful dialogue, confidence-building and transparency measures with regard to its nuclear capabilities and doctrines,” said Stoltenberg. “He stressed that mutual transparency and arms control dialogue would benefit both NATO and China.”
NATO joined the US in July on accusing a Chinese intelligence agency of responsibility for a number of “really eye-opening” cyberattacks, including one against Microsoft Exchange. Beijing, on the other hand, boasts close economic ties with key members of NATO and the European Union such as Germany and Hungary.
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“The two sides should look at each other rationally and objectively, instead of just listening to and believing in misinformation and being confused by lies and rumors,” argued the Chinese foreign minister. “China was and will not be an opponent of NATO.”
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Keywords: News, Foreign Policy, National Security, China, NATO, France, Australia, UK
Original author: Joel Gehrke
Original location: China calls on NATO chief to keep allies out of the Indo-Pacific