Washington: NATO leaders have issued their strongest ever criticism of China, saying in a joint statement that the rising superpower’s nuclear ambitions and assertive military behaviour “present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order”.
NATO – a military alliance of 30 nations in Europe and North America launched at the beginning of the Cold War – has traditionally focussed on the threat of Russian military aggression.
Us President Joe Biden speaks during a media conference during a NATO summit in Brussels.Credit:Pool EPA
But in this year’s joint communique, issued after a leaders’ summit in Brussels on Tuesday (AEST), the leaders hit out out Beijing’s “coercive policies” which they “stand in contrast to the fundamental values” that underpin the NATO alliance.
“China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and a larger number of sophisticated delivery systems to establish a nuclear triad,” the communique says.
“It is opaque in implementing its military modernisation and its publicly declared military-civil fusion strategy.“
After expressing concern at China’s military co-operation with Russia, they continue: “We remain concerned with China’s frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation.
“We call on China 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.”
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