NATO leaders call China a constant security challenge

NATO leaders have spoken strong words towards China at the summit in Brussels. In a joint statement, the leaders of the thirty NATO countries state that China is a constant safety challenge, seeks to undermine the world order and is working at a โ€œworrying paceโ€ to develop nuclear missiles.

China‘s ambitions and behavior are โ€œsystemic challengesโ€ for the world order of mutual agreements and rules, the Heads of Government state.

Biden for the first time at top

US President Biden, who has been arguing for a stronger policy against Beijing for a long time, was there for the first time. German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron were a bit milder for China. โ€œIt’s important to find the balance because China is also a partner in many areas,โ€ Merkel said.

Macron said NATO should ensure not to put into the background other important themes such as combating terrorism and security issues around Russia.

That is why the 30 Heads of State or Government did not go so far to call China a rival. But they did express their concern about what they say is โ€œcompulsive policyโ€, i.e. the opaque ways in which the country modernizes its armed forces and disseminating disinformation.

In addition to talks about China, the relationship with Russia was also addressed. Among other things, concerns were made about the military presence in Crimea and about the country‘s nuclear arsenal. โ€œWe reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova within their internationally recognized borders,โ€ the declaration states.

Biden vs. Trump

The leaders were physically reunited in NATO headquarters for the first time in a year and a half. Biden expressed his โ€œstrong commitmentโ€ to NATO, Secretary-General Stoltenberg said afterwards. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, regularly spoke less favourable about the collaboration.

Prime Minister Rutte was also present at the summit. On Twitter, he said afterwards he was happy that Biden โ€œconfirmed his unconditional commitment to NATO and its relationship with Europeโ€.

Biden was already in Europe for last weekend‘s G7 summit in Cornwall, UK. At that summit, China was a subject of conversation, especially at the request of the Americans.

It was agreed to jointly form a power block against China, including the initiative to create a major infrastructure project in developing countries. That way, the seven largest industrialized countries hope to counter China’s influence in those countries.