China on Monday rejected NATO’s statement branding Beijing of presenting “systemic challenges,” saying that it represents “a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the EU said China is committed to a defence policy “that is defensive in nature,” and its pursuit of defence and military modernization is “justified, reasonable, open and transparent”, Xinhua reported.
At the first meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 2019, China was central to the discussions. In a statement, NATO leaders called out China’s “assertive behaviour” and expressed concerns over Beijing’s coercive policies, South China Morning Post reported.
The alliance of 30 European and North American countries, has said that China presents “systemic challenges” and has vowed to counter Beijing’s rise.
In a news conference after the summit’s conclusion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the body was concerned that China was “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, with more warheads and a large number of sophisticated, sophisticated delivery systems”, as well as its military cooperation with Russia and its “use of misinformation”.
“Nato leaders call on China to uphold its international commitments, and to act responsibly in the international system, including in space, cyber, and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power,” Stoltenberg said.
According to South China Morning Post, the 79-point statement devoted three paragraphs and 10 mentions to China.
Reacting to NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg’s remarks, China said it always follows the principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance and is committed itself unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones.
“I would like to ask whether NATO and its member states, which are striving for “peace, security and stability,” can make the same commitment as China?” asked the spokesperson.