archyworldys

NATO toughens against Russia and sends signals on its main long-term challenge: China

US President Joe Biden with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the NATO summit in Madrid. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

China is closely watching what is happening at the NATO summit in Madrid. He knows that the strategies outlined by the leaders of the Western powers for Russia will soon be applied to Russia as well. With some caution, Xi Jinping supports Vladimir Putin in his warlike expansionism in Ukraine and blames NATO for having provoked the Russian invasion. Also believes the United States is attempting to form a similar alliance in the Asia-Pacific and the presence of the powers of the region at this summit only makes him more suspicious.

The leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand attend for the first time as guests to a summit of this 30-member alliance. The focus of the meeting is concentrated on the military response to the Russian offensive and the entry into the organization of Finland and Sweden, but everyone knows that the “bottom fight” is with China. In a world polarized to the extreme in which the global dispute was reduced to “democracy” versus “authoritarianism”, everyone understands that Russia is just “a preview” of the “great confrontation” with China to see who will lead the world in the second half of the 21st century.

It is in this context that the document being discussed at the summit defines China as a “systemic challenge” in new political guidelines for the next decade, reflecting changes in the geopolitical landscape as Xi increasingly joins Putin in opposition to world democracies.

Taiwanese soldiers during military exercises at the base in Hsinchu, Taiwan, as part of the defense that prepares the island against a possible Chinese invasion.  EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
Taiwanese soldiers during military exercises at the base in Hsinchu, Taiwan, as part of the defense that prepares the island against a possible Chinese invasion. EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

The call Strategic Concept document outlines the alliance’s priorities for the next decade and will be signed by both the 30 NATO members and the invited countries. It will be the first revision of the previous one dating from 2010, which did not mention China and referred to Russia as a strategic partner. A true “live” lesson on the geopolitical changes of the last decade.

NATO shows China’s concerns about cybersecurity and disinformation, as well as “the control of critical infrastructures and compliance with the international order based on rules”. But He stops short of qualifying the Asian “great dragon” as an “enemy.” The document has been under discussion for months and some intermediate points were reached with The United States in the most radical position and Germany as the most moderate as a result of its trade commitments with Beijing.

Several Asian nations have sought in recent months to strengthen their security ties with the United States to avoid being dominated by the largest player in the region. China maintains active border disputes with its neighbors, such as Japan, India and Vietnam, and has intensified military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan., the island-nation that it claims as its own. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that his country would not admit any interference in its path “towards the unification of Chinese territory.”

Preparations for the official photo with the guests from Asia-Pacific at the Madrid summit.  Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.  REUTERS/Susana Vera
Preparations for the official photo with the guests from Asia-Pacific at the Madrid summit. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. REUTERS/Susana Vera

In the corridors of the summit that takes place in Ifema, the great Madrid convention center, with some 5,000 attendees, the previous concern that was focused on the type of weapons to be delivered to Ukraine for your defense and Turkey’s objections to the entry of the two new partners, Finland and Sweden –a cooperation agreement was signed between the three countries-, they are already cleared. It is in this context that China appeared on the scene. And this is how NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg put it: “The meaningful dialogue that we have worked for so many years is not on the table, it is not working simply because of Russia’s behavior: have chosen confrontation instead of dialogue. We are sorry, but of course we have to respond to that reality.” He also spoke of the behavior of the Beijing government without naming it directly.

“Russia and China say they form a ‘limitless partnership,’ and there is a tendency for Chinese officials to spread Russian disinformation about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, allies see a growing pattern between the two and the need to start addressing it”, a senior European official told the Bloomberg agency.

Mary Elise Sarotte, professor of historical studies at Johns Hopkins University, believes that for NATO, both powers form a block that they have to face, although at different times. “It is realistic to place the Chinese threat within the organization’s Strategic Concept. NATO cannot ignore the Chinese threat although, for now, the priority is the invasion of Ukraine“, said.

Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing during a meeting that took place just a few days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/
Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing during a meeting that took place just a few days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/

At a virtual summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) attended by Putin last week, Xi accused the United States of seeking to expand military alliances and divide the world economy into mutually exclusive zones.. She warned that “those who become obsessed with a position of strength” will only “fall into a security conundrum.” And this Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said that NATO had become a “tool of certain countries to maintain their hegemony.” “After disturbing Europe, NATO should not try to destabilize Asia and the whole world”Zhao launched.

“Clearly, China feels uncomfortable, surrounded and threatened”Vivian Zhan, a professor specializing in Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the Japan Times. “And she’s going to defend herself with all her might from him. A strategic alliance with Russia right now is probably their best weapon.”

The Asian nations that attend this summit as guests cannot raise a direct confrontation with China either. The giant remains the largest trading partner of Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. They know that any important dispute can lead to an economic crisis. The dispute over the East China Sea islands claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing a decade ago is still fresh in the memory. caused a recession in the Japanese economy because of the Chinese consumer boycott.

The summit of the Western military alliance in Madrid with one eye on Russia and the other on China.  REUTERS/Yves Herman
The summit of the Western military alliance in Madrid with one eye on Russia and the other on China. REUTERS/Yves Herman

All this made Japan, under the command of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, abandon its classic “pacifism” adopted after World War II and Defense spending will increase beyond the established limit of 1% of gross domestic product.

And there is always the threat from Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea, which has a long association with China and Russia and yesterday accused NATO of direct “their sinister eyes” towards Asia. “NATO is nothing more than a perpetrator of the hegemonic strategy of the United States and it must be stopped,” says an article released by the state agency and signed by the official political investigator, Kim Hyo Myong. They were also announced from Pyongyang new long-range missile launch tests with the capacity to reach US territory.

The Madrid summit ends with eye on ukraine. This is the retaining wall that both the United States and Europe and its allies know that, if Russia manages to penetrate it, Vladimir Putin will go for more. But out of the corner of the eye is reflected the gigantic concern for China.

KEEP READING:

NATO condemned Russia’s “appalling cruelty” in Ukraine and invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance
NATO prepares in Madrid for a long-term confrontation with Russia

Trending