China and North Korea to NATO: Mind your own business

The NATO leader’s decision to highlight the global security threat posed by China for the first time sparked outrage in Beijing, with China’s foreign ministry on Thursday accusing Western military alliances of promoting claims of “distorting facts” and “promoting confrontation” between the West and China.

Beijing’s allegations follow similar warnings this week from the North Korean authoritarian regime, which is backed by China, claiming that military coordination between the United States, South Korea and Japan is “creating [an] “The Asian version of NATO.”

On Thursday, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reprinted an analysis by a local think tank scholar that NATO “brought disaster” to Eastern Europe and is now seeking to do the same in the Asia-Pacific region.

“All things considered, there is an ominous sign that dark waves in the North Atlantic will sooner or later break the silence of the Pacific,” wrote Kim Hyo-myung, identified by KCNA as a fellow at the Institute for International Political Studies. “NATO is nothing more than an implementer of U.S. hegemonic strategies. Simply a tool of localized aggression. … After transforming the Western Hemisphere into an unstable region of international disputes, NATO has turned its insidious gaze to the far Eastern Hemisphere this time.”

North Korea’s warning came as President Biden met his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a major NATO summit in Madrid, while China’s warning came in response to the latest “strategic doctrine” officially approved by NATO during the summit. Get up Thursday.

Despite its focus on threats from Russia, NATO’s strategic blueprint, for the first time in its 75-year history, lists China as a “systemic challenge to Euro-Atlantic security” and condemns Beijing’s warming ties with Moscow.

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“The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, and their mutual reinforcement of attempts to undermine the rules-based international order, runs counter to our values ​​and interests,” the NATO document said.

It reflects NATO leaders’ frustration with China’s display of military power, aggressive maritime territorial claims and support for Russia — a disappointment that has grown in recent years and has been spoken out publicly by U.S. and other coalition officials at this week’s summit.

“Our relationship with China is one of the most complex and important of any relationship we have with another country, and … in some ways we have to increasingly question what China is doing,” he said. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said. on Wednesday.

Mr Blinken added that the US and NATO allies “are not looking for conflict, but trying to ensure that together we maintain a rules-based international order – wherever it is challenged – and whether China challenges it in one way or the other. , we will persevere.”

Chinese officials were already hitting back and venting their dissatisfaction on Thursday, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressing “grave concern and firm protest” over NATO’s remarks.

“The Chinese side expresses serious concern and firm opposition to this,” Zhao said, according to the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.

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“The so-called new NATO strategic concept ignores the facts, distorts the facts, … slanders China’s foreign policy, makes irresponsible remarks about China’s natural military development and national defense policy, and fuels confrontation and conflict, [and] It is full of Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” Zhao said at a routine briefing with reporters in Beijing on Thursday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg defends the China channel in the new strategic doctrine.

Stoltenberg reiterated his warning against China at a news conference in Madrid late Thursday, telling reporters that the heads of state from the 30-nation coalition discussed both Russia and Russia at the closing session of the NATO summit. China.

Coalition leaders “talked about how Russia and China continue to pursue political, economic and military interests in our southern neighbor,” Mr Stoltenberg said, adding that “both Moscow and Beijing are using economic leverage, coercion and A hybrid approach to advancing their interests in the region.”

US push

Meanwhile, China has been called a “systemic challenge” in NATO’s updated strategy document, representing a victory for a Biden administration, which has been pushing to include tougher language against Beijing.

While China is a major trading partner for many NATO members and some European allies are hesitant to warn of the threat posed by Beijing, U.S. officials believe that China’s recent behavior has much of a direct NATO concern. Transatlantic Alliance.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the bilateral relationship “without restrictions” just weeks before the Kremlin began its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in late February. China does not support Russian military action and has observed some sanctions imposed on Moscow, but its state media strongly supports Russia’s account of events in Ukraine and believes the United States and NATO are responsible for provoking the war.

Earlier this week, Mr. Zhao accused NATO leaders of trying to move beyond their regional focus and to exert influence in the Pacific as well, with the explicit goal of containing China’s rise, he said.

“NATO should stop drawing ideological lines, incite political confrontation, and stop seeking to launch a new Cold War,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. “Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mentality should be abandoned, and enemies should be stopped. NATO has disrupted Europe. … It should not try to destabilize Asia and the world.”

President Xi Jinping and key Chinese Communist Party officials have issued similar “Cold War” warnings in recent years in response to Washington’s efforts to coordinate with the most economically and militarily powerful democracies in the Indo-Pacific to balance Beijing’s growing influence in the region .

Beijing is most visible in the previous Trump administration’s push for a so-called “quartet” of alliances between the United States, India, Japan and Australia — an effort that the Biden administration pushed forward by holding its first-ever in-person summit of leaders last year the group of four.

About a year before the summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made global headlines when he visited several Asian countries by declaring that the Trump administration and its Indo-Pacific strategy posed a “tremendous security risk” to the region. According to an October 2020 report in the South China Morning Post, Yi Gang specifically attacked the Quartet as an “Indo-Pacific NATO.”

This week, North Korea’s authoritarian regime used the feature itself as it lashed out ahead of a meeting between Mr Biden, South Korean President Yoon Seol-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of a NATO summit, which was largely focused on Pyongyang.

The presence of Mr Yoon and Mr Kishida in Madrid marked the first time South Korean and Japanese leaders attended the annual NATO summit as observers.

As U.S., South Korean and Japanese militaries are scheduled to conduct joint missile detection and tracking exercises near Hawaii in August, North Korean state media published a report this week that Washington “is insisting on military cooperation with its lackeys, ignoring the priority security of Asia-Pacific nations. needs and concerns.”

“The plan to form a US-Japan-South Korea military alliance with Japan and South Korea bowing their heads to the US is clearly a dangerous prelude to the creation of an ‘Asian version of NATO’,” state media reported, accusing Washington of instigating a new Cold War, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the White House read out Biden’s discussions with Mr. Yin and Mr. Kishida in Madrid that the three held a “historic trilateral meeting” to discuss enhanced cooperation across the Indo-Pacific, especially in “responding to Evolving Threats [North Korea’s] Illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. “

“President Biden underscored America’s strong commitment to defending Japan and South Korea,” the White House said.

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