China rejects NATO criticism in new strategic blueprint

NATO is turning its attention to China and Beijing is not happy about that.

China’s foreign ministry reacted sharply to NATO’s new updated “strategic doctrine” endorsed by the US and its allies at the Western military alliance summit in Madrid that concluded Thursday.

Though heavily focused on the threat posed by Russia, the NATO strategy blueprint identified China as a “systemic challenge to Euro-Atlantic security” for the first time in its 75-year history and condemned Beijing’s warm ties to Moscow.

“The deepening of the strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing efforts to undermine the rules-based international order are against our values ​​and interests,” the NATO document said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed “serious concern and resolute protest” over NATO’s rhetoric.

“China is deeply concerned and strongly opposed to this,” Mr Zhao said, according to the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.

“NATO’s so-called new Strategic Concept ignores facts, distorts the truth, … slanders China’s foreign policy, makes irresponsible statements about China’s natural military development and national defense policy, promotes confrontation and conflict [and] is filled with Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” said Mr. Zhao during his regular briefing with reporters in Beijing on Thursday.

The Biden administration had pushed for strong language about China to be included in strategic doctrine, though some European allies were hesitant to go as far as Washington. US officials argue that there is much in China’s recent behavior that directly affects the transatlantic alliance.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a “borderless” bilateral relationship just weeks before the Kremlin launched its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in late February.

China did not approve of the Russian military action and has noted some sanctions imposed on Moscow, but the official press has strongly supported Russia’s version of events in Ukraine, arguing that the US and NATO are to blame for provoking the war.

Mr. Zhao earlier this week accused NATO leaders of trying to move beyond their regional focus and also exert influence in the Pacific, with the clear aim, he said, of containing China’s rise.

“NATO must stop drawing ideological lines, fueling political confrontations or trying to start a new Cold War,” he said on Wednesday. “It should throw out the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mentality and stop making enemies. NATO has already disrupted Europe. It should not try to destabilize Asia and the world.”

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