Beijing has lashed out at NATO for calling China in its new blueprint a “challenge” for the US-led military bloc’s “interests, security and values”, blaming the United States for Russia's military offensive against Ukraine.
“We would like to warn NATO that hyping up the so-called China threat is completely futile,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference.
In a document that defines the alliance’s strategic outlook for the next decade, titled Strategic Concept 2022, NATO said on Wednesday that China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”
NATO’s Strategic Concept 2022 was released during the bloc’s three-day summit, which began on Tuesday and will last through Thursday.
It further alleged that China “employs a broad range of political, economic and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power, while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions and military build-up.”
The US-led military bloc also accused the Asian country of carrying out “malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation target Allies and harm Alliance security.”
Beijing denounced NATO’s blatant accusations, urging the 30-member bloc to drop its “Cold War mentality.”
“NATO’s so-called new strategy concept document disregards the facts, gives a false account of the true facts, wrongly defines China as posing a strategic challenge and smears China's foreign policy,” Zhao said.
“It opposes China's normal military development and national defense policy, is irresponsible, encourages conflict, and is full of Cold War thinking and ideological prejudice. China is seriously concerned and firmly opposed to this,” he further said, accusing NATO members of repeated “forays into the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Chinese official also urged NATO to stop drawing what he called “ideological lines, stoking political confrontation, or seeking to start a new Cold War”, calling on the US-led bloc to abandon “the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mindset and stop making enemies.”
Zhao also said NATO had already disrupted Europe and that it should not seek to destabilize Asia and the rest of the world.
US started Ukraine crisis, benefits from it: Beijing
Elsewhere in his comments, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman turned to the nations imposing sanctions on Russia and providing Ukraine with advanced weapons before accusing Washington of benefiting from the conflict.
“The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has taken a heavy toll on Europe politically, economically and socially, while the US benefits from it, with arms dealers popping champagne and American grain and energy industries making exorbitant profits,” Zhao said.
“As the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, the US needs to reflect on its disreputable role it has played in the Ukraine crisis and stop smearing China,” he further noted.
In its new 10-year strategic policy, NATO officially declared Russia the “most significant and direct threat” to the security of its members, marking a radical strategic shift spurred by the Russian military offensive against Ukraine. The last such document, published in 2010, NATO had described Russia as a “strategic partner.”
The developments came as NATO approved the applications of Sweden and Finland in a collective decision on Wednesday, triggering strong reaction from Russia, which called it "a purely destabilizing factor." The decision will now be referred to the parliaments and legislatures of the NATO member states for final ratification.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday slammed NATO's decision to approve the applications of the two Nordic countries, saying his country would respond in kind if the US-led military alliance deployed troops and infrastructure in Sweden and Finland after they join the bloc.
Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the US and its European allies have not only unleashed a raging flood of advanced weapons into the ex-Soviet country to help its military to fend off Russian forces but also imposed waves of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, attempting to ultimately make Russia a pariah nation.
The war also pushed Finland and Sweden to seek the safety of NATO membership, prompting them to formally ask the bloc to add them to its members in May, a move that would change the geopolitics of Europe.
Russia has time and again stressed that the US-led West’s flood of weapons will not force Moscow to end the operation before achieving its objectives. The Kremlin has also warned that the unprecedented sanctions against Russia, plus the flow of arms into Ukraine, would only prolong the ongoing war.