China says it is a force for peace as it hits back at Nato

Nato has declared for the first time that China is a security challenge

Mayank Aggarwal
Tuesday 15 June 2021 15:49
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NATO says China presents ‘systemic’ challenges

China on Tuesday slammed Nato for calling it a security challenge and said it will never give up its “right to uphold peace”.

The Chinese mission to the European Union also urged Nato to view China’s development in a “rational manner”.

On Monday, the leaders of Nato declared China as a challenge to the rules-based international order. It said China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security”.

The statement left China unimpressed.

It asked Nato to “stop hyping up in any form the so-called ‘China threat’, and stop taking China’s legitimate interests and rights as an excuse to manipulate bloc politics, create confrontation and fuel geopolitical competition”.

“Instead, Nato should devote more of its energy to promoting dialogue and cooperation and making more efforts that are truly conducive to upholding international and regional security and stability,” said China’s mission to the EU on Tuesday.

It said that Beijing will never give up its “right to uphold peace, and will stand firm in defending our sovereignty, security and development interests”.

“We will follow very closely Nato’s strategic adjustment and its policy adjustment towards China,” said the mission.

Nato said that China is rapidly expanding “its nuclear arsenal, is ‘opaque’ in the modernisation of its military, and is cooperating militarily with Russia.” Nato said it remains concerned with China’s “frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation”.

The strong statement was a result of the efforts of the US which has been trying to get the European allies to confront China.

Before the statement, the US’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, had said that “China will feature in the communique in a more robust way than we’ve ever seen before”.

China countered by claiming that Nato is “slandering China’s peaceful development and misjudging the international situation and its own role”.

“It represents a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics. China is committed to a defence policy that is defensive in nature. Our pursuit of defence and military modernisation is justified, reasonable, open and transparent,” said the Chinese mission.

It said that the total military expenditure of 30 Nato member states is expected to reach $1.17 trillion (£1.2 trillion) in 2021, “more than half of the total global military expenditure and 5.6 times that of China.”

“The people of the world can see clearly who has military bases all over the world and who is flexing muscles by sending aircraft carriers all over the world,” it said.

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