0905 GMT April 23, 2021
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Stoltenberg said the growing power of China was reshaping the priorities of the US-led military alliance and diverting focus from what he claimed as Russia’s threat to consensus among Western nations that Beijing was no longer a benign trading partner, Press TV wrote.
“China and Russia are trying to rewrite the rules of the road to benefit their own interests,” Stoltenberg claimed in his address to the online conference in southern Germany from Brussels via video link.
“The rise of China is a defining issue for the transatlantic community, with potential consequences for our security, our prosperity and our way of life,” he added.
Stoltenberg underlined that the 30-member alliance could also forge closer ties with non-NATO countries, such as Australia and Japan, to counter China’s alleged rising power.
The NATO chief told the virtual summit on Wednesday that the military alliance needed to update its decade-old strategic concept to take into account what he called Russia’s aggressive attitude and the rise of China.
Stoltenberg said NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept required an update because it did not match the new “security environment” in the world.
He accused Russia of adopting an “aggressive” attitude toward its neighbors, and said the current strategic concept of NATO had failed to address what he called the shifting balance of power and the security consequences of “the rise of China”.
Relations between Moscow and the rest of Europe have particularly deteriorated since 2014, when the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The West branded the reunification as the forced annexation of Ukrainian land by Russia.
Moreover, the US and China are currently at loggerheads over a host of issues, including trade, a new security law introduced in Hong Kong, the origins and handling of the COVID-19 disease, Taiwan, and the disputed South China Sea.