NATO says China presents ‘systemic’ challenges

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Beijing’s ‘assertive behaviour’ is challenging the ‘rules-based international order’, transatlantic security alliance says.

NATO has moved to confront China’s military ambitions for the first time, issuing a communique that said Beijing presents “systemic challenges” for the transatlantic security alliance.

The communique followed a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels and marked a diplomatic victory for US President Joe Biden, who had urged the 30-member strong alliance to stand up to China’s burgeoning military, political and economic might.

The language will now set the path for alliance policy and comes a day after the Group of Seven wealthy nations issued a statement on alleged human rights abuses in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.

“China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security,” NATO’s 79-point communique said.

It accused Beijing of “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal” and being “opaque in implementing its military modernisation”, as well as highlighting China’s military cooperation with Russia in exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area as a concern.

“We call on China to uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, cyber, and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power,” the communique said.

Addressing reporters following Monday’s summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was a “strong covergence of views among allies” regarding the challenges posed by Beijing’s behaviour.

“Leaders agreed that we need to address such challenges as an alliance and that we need to engage with China to defend our security interests,” he said.

More to follow…

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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