Sunday

7th Mar 2021

Nato: China-Russia axis threatens Western power

  • China and Russia "working more and more together", Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday (Photo: nato.int)

China is becoming an increasing "threat" to Europe, alongside Russia, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said.

"The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power ... multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life," he said in a video-briefing on Monday (8 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (r) with Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang in 2018 (Photo: European Commission)

"Nato does not see China as the new enemy or an adversary," he added.

"But ... they [the Chinese] already have the second largest defence budget [in the world]. They are investing heavily in modern military capabilities, including missiles that can reach all Nato-allied countries," he noted.

"We see them [Chinese forces] in the Arctic, in Africa. We see them investing in our critical infrastructure. And they are working more and more together with Russia. All of this has a security consequence for Nato allies," Stoltenberg said.

The former Norwegian prime minister spoke amid talks on how to reshape Nato in the next 10 years.

The Western alliance was formed after World War 2 to contain the Soviet Union.

It is still trying to contain Russia, with new Nato battalions and military drills in the Baltic region after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. It is also doing counter-terrorist operations, for instance, in Afghanistan.

But Stoltenberg's remarks on China echoed shifting concerns in the US, Nato's principle power by far.

Europe used to be the geopolitical centre of the world in Cold War times.

But even before the Russia-friendly US president Donald Trump had entered the White House, the US had said it was embarking on a "Pacific century", by reference to the Pacific Ocean between America and Asia.

For his part, Trump has reportedly decided to pull about 10,000 troops from Cold War-era German bases, underlining the point.

Stoltenberg declined to comment on "media leakages".

But he added: "This is not only about Germany".

"After the end of the Cold War, we saw the US gradually reducing its military presence in Europe. [But] over the last few years, we have actually seen an increase in the US presence in Europe again," he said, referring to the Russia-deterrent battalions in the Baltic area, as well as other US deployments in Poland, Romania, and Spain.

And amid the rise of China, Russia still posed a grave menace to Western security, Stoltenberg noted.

"We have seen a Russia being willing to use military force against neighbours," he said, referring to its attack on Ukraine and, earlier, Georgia.

"They [the Russians] are [also] deploying now a new missile called SSC-8, a missile which can reach European cities, [and] reduces the threshold for a potential use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict," the Nato head added.

Propaganda axis

Meanwhile, the new China-Russia axis, which Stoltenberg warned of, was highly active on the disinformation front, he noted.

They were both publishing "propaganda" to "try to divide us, to undermine trust in Nato countries," he said.

"We have seen both from Russia and China attempts to, in a way, blame Nato allies for the existence of the coronavirus," he added.

Western "open societies" and "free press" were robust enough to resist, Stoltenberg said.

"I believe that the truth will prevail," he said.

But in the new "global balance", not even the US could afford to go it alone, he added.

"Compared to China, even the United States is not the biggest [superpower]," any more, Stoltenberg said.

"Soon, China will have the biggest economy in the world. They are leading in investing in a lot of advanced technologies, including ... artificial intelligence, quantum computing," he noted.

"It's even more important that we stand together, North America and Europe together, because we cannot manage this alone," he said.

Column

India is waging the wrong war and that's bad for Europe

As long as European companies continue to choose the certainty of the Chinese dictatorship over the volatility of India's fragile democracy, the threat from China is not going to change soon.

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. China and Russia abusing corona for geopolitics, Lithuania says
  2. Worries on Europe's infection surge, after six-week drop
  3. EU wants large firms to report on gender pay-gap or face fines
  4. EU Commission cannot hold Frontex to account
  5. Orbán leaves EPP group - the beginning of a long endgame
  6. 'Corporate due diligence'? - a reality check before EP votes
  7. Austrian ex-minister joins list of EU's pro-Kremlin lobbyists
  8. Internal Frontex probe to deliver final report this week

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us