NATO Chief Warns: China Is Investing Massively In New Weapons

China’s growing military power holds potential dangers for the transatlantic alliance, according to NATO’s civilian chief.

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

That unease spurred the foreign ministers of the alliance to dedicate a session of their annual meeting, held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, to the rising communist power. The dialogue took place as Stoltenberg is orchestrating a NATO Reflection Group to identify the transatlantic alliance’s priorities over the next decade — an effort that Stoltenberg hopes will culminate in a visit from President-elect Joe Biden in the spring.

“That’s the best way for all allies’ heads of state and government to meet, to sit down,” he said. “And at that summit, I will also put forward my proposals on how to continue to strengthen and continue to adapt NATO as an agile and strong alliance.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team put an emphasis on China’s anti-satellite weaponry, which could be used to sever military communications in a conflict and cripple Western economies.

“China is very active in space, and there needs to be a lot of work in space to make sure that we have, hopefully, an ability to see where satellites are and determine what our deterrence and defense capabilities can be to assure that those cannot be used against us — against any of us,” U.S. Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said Monday. “That’s just one area.”

The foreign ministers put a spotlight on China one year after the landmark declaration that Beijing’s power presents “both opportunities and challenges” to the alliance, a statement that amounted to an unprecedented display of concern about China by a transatlantic security bloc that traditionally has focused on threats nearer to European borders.

“China is not our adversary,” Stoltenberg stipulated. “Its rise presents an important opportunity for our economies and trade. We need to engage with China on issues such as arms control and climate change.”

Those comments gave voice to the U.S. and European belief that Chinese Communist officials have a key role to play in an international effort to mitigate the effects of climate change. “We’re going to have a principle on the National Security Council whose full-time job is to fight climate change,” Biden said last week. “For the first time ever, that will occur.”

Chinese state media pointed to the Biden team’s rhetoric about “the dangers of climate change” as a potential opening to diminish tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“Such a shift in focus would clearly be far more objective than the Trump administration’s national security priorities,” a Global Times editorial suggested Sunday.

Stoltenberg emphasized that such climate cooperation shouldn’t obscure the deeper fissures between the Chinese Communist regime and Western capitals.

“China does not share our values,” he said. “It does not respect fundamental human rights and tries to intimidate other countries. We must address this together, both as NATO allies and as a community of like-minded countries.”

Author: Joel Gehrke

Source: Washington Examiner: NATO chief warns: ‘China is investing massively in new weapons’

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