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China a systemic challenge in NATO’s major strategic shift

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun30’22) – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) has at a Jun 29 summit in Spain’s capital Madrid outlined its new strategic vision in the wake of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, positioning Moscow as the defence alliance’s primary adversary and, for the first time, labeling China a strategic “challenge.”

The plan signifies a fundamental shift from the post-Cold War era, when the alliance saw Russia as a potential ally and did not focus on China at all, noted the New York Times Jun 30. It followed formal membership invitations to Finland and Sweden — paving the way for NATO’s most significant enlargement in more than a decade.

The alliance’s strategic concept, the first since 2010, released during the summit recognized China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies” as a threat to its interests, security and values in a sign of the rapid shift in European geopolitical attitudes, noted the hindustantimes.com Jun 29.

The report noted that while remaining open to engaging with China, Nato also said that all allies will work together to address the “systemic challenges” posed by China to Euro-Atlantic security, boost shared awareness, enhance resilience and preparedness, and protect against China’s “coercive tactics and efforts to divide the alliance”.

Significantly, what has been seen as a historic Nato summit also saw the participation of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Korea, countries facing increasing security threats from China in recent times.

The strategic concept states that China employs a broad range of political, economic and military tools to increase its global footprint, “while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions and military build-up”.

It says that China’s “malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation” target Nato allies and harm its security, and warns against China’s quest to “control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, and strategic materials and supply chains”.

The strategic concept, which outlines Nato’s priorities and core tasks in the next decade, also accuses China of using its “economic leverage” to create strategic dependencies and enhance its influence; of striving to “subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains”.

China criticized the military alliance for what it called its aggressive security policy and lingering conflicts among its members.

“Analysts say while NATO is portraying other countries as its imaginary adversaries, it is NATO itself that has been expanding its influence at the expense of other countries’ security and inciting bloc confrontation with an outdated Cold War mentality,” said China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 29.

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