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Video: NATO chief warns China ‘investing massively in new weapons’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. (U.S. State Department photo/Released)
December 04, 2020

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday that China is “investing massively in new weapons” and is closing in on the alliance through moves in the Arctic and Africa and by investing in the infrastructure of alliance members.

“China is investing massively in new weapons,” Stoltenberg said Monday. “It is coming closer to us, from the Arctic to Africa, and by investing in our infrastructure.”

“China does not share our values. It does not respect fundamental human rights and tries to intimidate other countries,” Stoltenberg continued. “We must address this together, both as NATO Allies, and as a community of like-minded countries. We should, therefore, continue to consult closely, and cooperate where possible.
To bolster the resilience of our societies and to protect the values and norms we share.”

Stoltenberg made his comments ahead of the publication of the NATO 2030 Report, which contains a list of 138 proposals for different ways to strengthen the alliance, including several recommendations specific to China and to the Indo-Pacific and Asian regions.

The NATO 2030 report states, “NATO must devote much more time, political resources, and action to the security challenges posed by China – based on an assessment of its national capabilities, economic heft, and the stated ideological goals of its leaders. It needs to develop a political strategy for approaching a world in which China will be of growing importance through to 2030.”

In a section of the report dedicated specifically to China, the NATO report authors state, “While China does not pose an immediate military threat to the Euro-Atlantic area on the scale of Russia, it is expanding its military reach into the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Arctic, deepening defence ties with Russia, and developing long-range missiles and aircraft, aircraft carriers, and nuclear-attack submarines with global reach, extensive space-based capabilities, and a larger nuclear arsenal. NATO Allies feel China’s influence more and more in every domain. Its Belt and Road, Polar Silk Road, and Cyber Silk Road have extended rapidly, and it is acquiring infrastructure across Europe with a potential bearing upon communications and interoperability.”

The report noted NATO allies have attributed cyberattacks, intellectual property theft, and disinformation campaigns, including about the coronavirus pandemic, to China.

In a section of the report broadly discussing arms control measures, the NATO report states, “China must be considered in prospective future arms control negotiations, especially in the contexts of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The Alliance should encourage China to engage in meaningful and verifiable arms control to reduce the chance of an arms race in Asia and beyond. Doing more to monitor and set standards for [emerging disruptive technologies] is a significant part of this goal.”

The report also recommends expanding its cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners like Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea and said such partnerships could help NATO “heighten coordination on managing the strategic and political implications of China’s rise.”

The report also comes as U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has written an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and set for a number of interviews with other U.S. media outlets to discuss the national security risks China poses. Ratcliffe called China the “greatest national security threat” on Thursday and warned a potential Joe Biden administration not to politicize intelligence to downplay the threat China poses.