NATO’s China Dilemma | Security Risks Asia Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

NATO’s China Dilemma

Published Dec 06, 2019
Updated Feb 18, 2020

While China has been named as principal adversary in the US National Security Strategy and Defense Strategy, NATO is reluctant to create another adversary.

With China extending the Belt and Road Initiative investing in large number of countries in Europe despite the U.S. concerns and warnings in some cases, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the predominantly trans Atlantic alliance is cautious to call out Beijing as an adversary.

Leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gathered in London for the two-day summit in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the military alliance that was created to contend with the Soviet Union.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg talking about China said, “We see that China’s rise is changing the global power balance. Its economic and military rise provides not only opportunities but also some serious challenges.”

This senior NATO official admitted frankly that as China “is coming closer to us” and making massive investment in infrastructure, NATO will “under no circumstance” interfere in the South China Sea region, nor does it wish to antagonize Beijing as per a China Military Online report.

He also asserted that China has recently displayed “many new modern military capabilities, including intercontinental long-range missiles that can reach Europe and North America…So we will discuss at the London summit how to cope with the rise of China.”

In Stoltenberg’s opinion, China’s presence in Africa, the North Pole and the cyberspace, as well as its world’s second largest (for a nation) national defense budget, definitely affects NATO.

In addition, while claiming that NATO doesn’t want to “create a new rival”, Stoltenberg also declared “as long as NATO members stay united, we will grow stronger and we will be secure…We are the strongest military alliance in the world today.”

Speaking of NATO’s discussion about “China’s rise”, Sarah Raine, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in the UK, said that as Washington and Beijing are handling their economic relations and western countries are debating about China’s 5G technology, such discussions would “widen instead of bridging political divergences (among the NATO members)”.

It is evident thus that while China has been named as principal adversary in the US National Security Strategy and Defense Strategy, NATO is reluctant to create another adversary given the close engagement by Beijing under the BRI with a number of NATO members.