NATO To Focus More on the China Enemy-Image
Dec. 5, 2019 (EIRNS)—Seventy years since its Cold War-era founding as a transatlantic alliance fixated on Moscow, NATO is expanding its gaze towards China which some in the Western alliance claim is posing a strategic challenge to the West, according to a Reutersdispatch yesterday.
In in point 6 of its London Declaration, NATO made a one-sentence reference to China, but whose context cannot be ignored:
“To stay secure, we must look to the future together. We are addressing the breadth and scale of new technologies to maintain our technological edge, while preserving our values and norms. We will continue to increase the resilience of our societies, as well as of our critical infrastructure and our energy security. NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognizing the need to rely on secure and resilient systems. We have declared space an operational domain for NATO, recognizing its importance in keeping us safe and tackling security challenges, while upholding international law. We are increasing our tools to respond to cyber attacks, and strengthening our ability to prepare for, deter, and defend against hybrid tactics that seek to undermine our security and societies. We are stepping up NATO’s role in human security. We recognize that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.”
During his press conference, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was more explicit, but not overly so:
“For the first time, we addressed the rise of China—both the challenges and the opportunities it poses. And the implications for our security. Leaders agreed we need to address this together as an Alliance. And that we must find ways to encourage China to participate in arms control arrangements.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Reuters there was an increasing understanding in Europe about the challenges posed by China’s rapidly expanding military might, which includes everything from hypersonic weaponry to aircraft carriers. “China is a challenge for us and we need to get ahead of that,” Reuters quotes Esper as saying. “That doesn’t mean that China right now is an enemy. But we need to help shape that together as an alliance. And we need to be prepared in case things do turn out in a way we prefer they not.”
Stoltenberg remarked ahead of the summit that China was the world’s second-largest defense spender, after the United States. “It’s not about moving NATO into the South China Sea, but it’s about taking into account the fact that China is coming closer to us,” he said, pointing to Chinese activity in the Arctic, Africa and heavy investments in European infrastructure.