Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has claimed that the Western bloc needs more friends in Asia amid Beijing’s rise
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday in Tokyo. © Getty Images / Takashi Aoyama
China and Russia are leading an “authoritarian pushback” against the “international rules-based order,” and their expanding ties pose a security threat that Western powers and their Asian allies must address together, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has claimed.
“The fact that Russia and China are coming closer and the significant investments by China and new advanced military capabilities just underlines that China poses a threat, poses a challenge also to NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said on Tuesday in a speech in Tokyo. “Security is not regional but global. NATO needs to make sure we have friends. It is important to work more closely with our partners in the Indo-Pacific,” added the NATO chief.
Stoltenberg made his comments a day after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss deepening ties between Tokyo and the Western military alliance. Japan plans to open an independent delegation office at NATO headquarters in Brussels and send a representative to the bloc’s council and defense chief meetings.
While claiming that NATO doesn’t consider China an adversary, Stoltenberg said Beijing’s “growing assertiveness” and “coercive policies” are troubling. He accused China of bullying its neighbors in the South China Sea, threatening Taiwan, spreading “disinformation” about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and expanding its nuclear and conventional military forces “without any transparency.” China’s deepening relationship with Russia only adds to those worries.
“Moscow and Beijing are deepening their strategic partnership,” Stoltenberg said. “The two countries train and operate more together militarily, conducting joint naval and air patrols also in the vicinity of Japan. Their economic cooperation is increasing, and China has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”