NATO expresses concern over deepening Russia-China ties

NATO leaders called on China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort

Updated - July 11, 2024 02:35 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2024 02:09 pm IST - Washington

The Heads of State of NATO pose with U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the South Lawn of the White House before a State dinner at the NATO 75th anniversary summit celebration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2024.

The Heads of State of NATO pose with U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the South Lawn of the White House before a State dinner at the NATO 75th anniversary summit celebration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: AFP

NATO has voiced profound concern over China's deepening relationship with Russia and accused Beijing of becoming a "decisive enabler" of Russia's war against Ukraine through its so-called “no limits” partnership with the country.

Leaders of the 32-member North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said this in a statement following their meeting in Washington to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the North Atlantic Council.

"The People's Republic of China's (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies continue to challenge our interests, security and values. The deepening strategic partnership between Russia and the PRC and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut and reshape the rules-based international order are a cause for profound concern," said the Washington Summit Declaration.

"We are confronted by hybrid, cyber, space and other threats and malicious activities from state and non-state actors," it said.

"The PRC has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called “no limits” partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defence industrial base. This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security," it said.

NATO leaders called on China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort.

"This includes the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment, and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defence sector. The PRC cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation," said the declaration issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting during which it welcomed Sweden as its 32nd member country.

The historic accession of Finland and Sweden makes them safer and the alliance stronger, including in the High North and the Baltic Sea, it said.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has shattered peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and gravely undermined global security, said the declaration, adding that Russia remains the most significant and direct threat to the allies' security.

"Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is the most direct asymmetric threat to the security of our citizens and to international peace and prosperity. The threats we face are global and interconnected," it said.

China continues to pose systemic challenges to Euro-Atlantic security, the declaration said.

"We have seen sustained malicious cyber and hybrid activities, including disinformation, stemming from the PRC. We call on the PRC to uphold its commitment to act responsibly in cyberspace," it said.

The declaration also expressed concern over developments in China's space capabilities and activities.

"We call on the PRC to support international efforts to promote responsible space behaviour. The PRC continues to rapidly expand and diversify its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and a larger number of sophisticated delivery systems. We urge the PRC to engage in strategic risk reduction discussions and promote stability through transparency," it said.

The leaders said they remain open to constructive engagement with China, including to build reciprocal transparency with the view of safeguarding the alliance’s security interests.

"At the same time, we are boosting our shared awareness, enhancing our resilience and preparedness, and protecting against the PRC’s coercive tactics and efforts to divide the Alliance," the declaration said.

At the 75th anniversary summit, NATO took steps to strengthen its deterrence and defence, bolster long-term support to Ukraine so it can prevail in its fight for freedom, and deepen NATO's partnerships.

"We warmly welcome President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy of Ukraine and the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the European Union," said the declaration.

Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will reinforce its partnerships in the Indo-Pacific to push against the growing alignment of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

"We will increase our support for Ukraine by establishing a NATO coordination and security assistance and training for Ukraine, and by ensuring sustained support for the long term. Support for Ukraine is not charity. It is in our own security interest," he said.

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