NATO says for the first time it must include China’s ‘growing influence’ in its defense strategy

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said that for the first time the 30-member alliance will consider China in its defense strategy amid Beijing’s refusal to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

“We have seen that China is unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression. And Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path,” Stoltenberg told reporters from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers.
(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

“For the first time it must also take account of how China’s growing influence and coercive policies affect our security,” he added.

Stoltenberg said the 30-member alliance will announce its new “strategic concept” following the Madrid summit in June. 

The alliance will look to shore up partnerships with Asia Pacific allies in several areas, including cyber, new technologies and countering disinformation.

Stoltenberg said this will in turn help NATO and its allies work more closely on maritime security, climate change and resilience, noting that “global challenges demand global solutions.”

The NATO chief said the alliance remains chiefly concerned with ending the war in Ukraine and delivering more aid to not only Kyiv but other nations that are also under threat from Russian aggression like Georgia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion in Ukraine seven weeks ago was met with swift global condemnation.

Nations like the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and NATO members hit Moscow with severe sanctions. 

A Ukrainian soldier carries a dog saved from under the ruins of houses destroyed by the Russian forces in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022.

A Ukrainian soldier carries a dog saved from under the ruins of houses destroyed by the Russian forces in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

CHINA ACCUSES US, TAIWAN OFFICIALS OF ‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’ WITH UKRAINE COMPARISONS

But China has refused to denounce the deadly war and condemned the use of sanctions, arguing that NATO should listen to Putin’s alleged security concerns. 

Last month, the U.S., along with 140 other nations, voted with the U.N. General Assembly to pass a historic resolution condemning Putin’s invasion and demanding that he withdraw his troops. 

Though the resolution holds no legal standing, China, along with 34 nations, abstained. 

China is not believed to have yet given support to Russia in the form of military arms or even sanctions relief, but the U.S. has repeatedly warned Beijing that there will be “consequences” if it aids Moscow. 

A man walks past a TV screen with image of Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

A man walks past a TV screen with image of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

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“The cost implications of Russia’s invasions are global and will be long-lasting and what is happening in Ukraine is being closely watched around the world,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “This is a serious challenge. 

“It makes it even more important that we stand together to protect our values,” he added.

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