skip to main content

NATO refers to China's behaviour as a ‘systemic challenge'

The leaders of NATO's member states have referred to China's “stated ambitions and assertive behaviour” as presenting a “systemic challenge” to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to the security of the alliance.

In a joint communiqué issued during a 14 June summit in Brussels, they expressed concerns about what they described as “coercive policies” that “stand in contrast to the fundamental values” enshrined in the 1949 ‘Washington Treaty‘ that created the alliance.

The heads of state and government noted that Beijing's growing influence and international policies “can present challenges that we need to address together as an alliance”, adding, “we will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the alliance”.

The communiqué states that China is “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and a larger number of sophisticated delivery systems” to establish a nuclear triad, and criticises Beijing for being “opaque in implementing its military modernisation and its publicly declared military-civil fusion strategy”. It also reflects the alliance's concerns about China's military co-operation with Russia, “including through participation in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area”.

The heads of state and government also expressed concern about what they described as China's “frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation”, and called upon Beijing 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”.

They went on to say that NATO “maintains a constructive dialogue with China where possible” and welcomes opportunities to engage with Beijing on areas of relevance to the alliance and on common challenges such as climate change.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...