NATO does not consider China an enemy and it doesn’t refer to China as adversary but needs to relate to all the aspects of the rise of China for its own security, the Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with Politico.
Stoltenberg believes that the Western alliance must respond to China’s economic, political and military rise and announced that the new strategy towards Beijing will be cemented in the final NATO summit statement.
Pointing at China’s omnipresence in the cyberspace, in Africa, but also as a heavy investor in the Alliance’s critical infrastructure, NATO chief noted that they need to engage politically with China on important issues such as climate change and arms control.
He pointed there’s no way the world can reduce emissions without also including China, that will soon rise as the biggest economy in the world.
China’s importance on military level is also huge considering it already has the second largest defense budget, the largest navy and is investing heavily in new modern capabilities, including nuclear capabilities and is increasing the use of many new disruptive technologies, such as AI, integrating them into its new very advanced weapons systems.
According to Stoltenberg, the much more assertive China of today, that does not share the Alliance’s values, has also risen significantly its influence in the South China Sea and Asia-Pacific region, which matters for NATO’s security and therefore it has to respond to that as an alliance.
He underscored the hopes that NATO’s future new strategic concepts will, in fact, reflect a much more comprehensive and unified position on relations with China.
According to a recent survey published by the Chicago Council, on the other hand, most Americans (58%) now think that trade with China weakens US national security, compared to 38% in 2019. In the midst of the US-China trade war two years ago, 64% of Americans believed that US-China trade strengthened US national security.