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China slams NATO ire, justifies army facelift

12:37 AM Jun 16, 2021 | Agencies

Brussels

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.

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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.

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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.

NATO vows to counter dragon

At the first meeting of NATO since 2019, China was central to the discussions. The NATO leaders called out China's "assertive behaviour" and expressed concerns over Beijing's coercive policies, South China Morning Post reported.

"China's stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security," the statement said."We are concerned by those coercive policies which stand in contrast to the fundamental values enshrined in the Washington Treaty," a reference to the Nato founding charter.

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".

Earlier, asked if there was a "line" China would need to cross to be upgraded from "systemic challenge" to "adversary", Stoltenberg said that "we're not in the business of defining exact lines, but we are addressing together the fact that China is soon [going to be] the biggest economy, they will have the second biggest defence budget and the biggest navy".

Speaking to reporters ahead of the summit, leaders emphasised their sense that China is among Nato's greatest foreign and defence policy challenges.

"China is increasingly running up against Nato, whether it be in Africa, in the Mediterranean, or more specifically in the Arctic, as they are trying to engage more," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking at the Brussels Forum, a think tank-organised event running alongside the Nato summit.

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