China on Thursday criticized NATO, following the publication of a document it presents as a threat, and accused the military alliance of having “bloodstained hands.”
The Atlantic Alliance, in its document titled “Strategic Concept” and which had not been revised since 2010, said on Wednesday at its summit meeting in Madrid that China poses a “challenge” to the interests and security of NATO countries.
“The declared ambitions and coercive policies of the People’s Republic of China challenge our interests, security and values,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in the document. This was the first time the text made reference to China, which was not traditionally mentioned in the Alliance’s mission.
A testament to the growing concern about China was the attendance at the summit, for the first time, of officials from the governments of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“China is not an adversary,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted, however. As expected, the document was criticized by Beijing.
“This so-called NATO Strategic Concept document ignores reality and presents the facts backwards. It strives (…) to defame China’s foreign policy,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry. “It has the misguided obstinacy to present China as a systemic challenge,” added the spokesman, who expressed his country’s “firm opposition” to the NATO document.
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NATO denounces in particular “the deepening strategic partnership between China and Russia and their attempts to undermine the international order.” Western powers have several times warned Beijing against any support for Russia in the war against Ukraine, which China has not condemned.
For its part, China criticizes NATO as a hostile military organization serving the interests of the United States. “China is not at all the systemic challenge that NATO imagines. In fact, Otan is the one that poses a real systemic challenge to world peace and stability,” said spokesman Zhao Lijian.
“Otan pretends to be a regional organization and defensive in nature. In fact, not for its expansion beyond its regional boundaries and its competencies to provoke wars and kill innocent civilians,” he added.
“The hands of NATO are stained with blood, of the peoples of the world,” he stressed, in reference to the Alliance’s interventions in Afghanistan, Libya or the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Serbia in 1999. This last event, which killed three Chinese journalists, tarnished NATO’s reputation in the Asian country.
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