China warning: NATO Chief warns nations about China’s impact on security

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The NATO chief urged like-minded countries to join the military alliance and stand up against “bullying and coercion.” Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic had “magnified existing tensions and trends when it comes to our security.” He added that: “China’s emergence as the world’s second-largest military spender demands a “more global approach” from the 30-country Nato group.”

“The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power, heating up the race for economic and technological supremacy, multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms, and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life.”

For a long time, it has appeared as though China has been rising up against the 71-year-old alliance.

NATO was set up during the cold war as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

President Donald Trump’s US — which has lambasted European Nato allies for failing to spend more on their militaries — has been seeking international support for a tougher approach to China.

Mr Stoltenberg said of China that: “They’re coming closer to us in cyberspace, we see them in the Arctic, in Africa, we see them investing in our critical infrastructure.”

He said this during an event hosted by two think-tanks, the Atlantic Council and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The NATO chief noted that China was working more and more closely with Russia, all of which had a security consequence for NATO allies.

Asked if China was now Nato’s “new enemy”, Mr Stoltenberg insisted Beijing was not an adversary.

But he pointed out that NATO leader for the first time in its history had agreed to address the security impact of China.

This historic agreement took place back in December and includes monitoring China’s development of missiles that could reach countries allied to NATO.

Jens Stoltenberg has also shied away from talking about the alliances’ internal disputes.

As reports came out that the US had planned to pull out almost 10,000 troops based in Germany.

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The UK has already indicated that it will be re-evaluating trade ties with Beijing in light of the virus crisis.

They have already announced a new security review last month into Huawei’s role in delivering 5G networks.

In a rare public intervention Jeremy Fleming, director of the British signals intelligence agency GCHQ, said last week that the pandemic had put China’s rise “front and centre” in people’s minds.

The NATO boss has stressed the fact that they need to work closely with countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea to protect global institutions.

For Mr Stoltenberg, it’s a case of being able to set norms for outer space, cyberspace, new technologies and global arms control.

Together they should “ultimately . . . stand up for a world built on freedom and democracy, not on bullying and coercion”, he added.

China’s handling of the pandemic has intensified existing tensions with countries inside and outside Nato.

Beijing denies accusations that it suppressed information in the crucial early stages of the virus and then spread misinformation to hide its origins in Wuhan province.

US agencies warned last month that Beijing was refocusing espionage efforts towards stealing research on coronavirus treatments and vaccines by hacking US health institutions.

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