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Beijing condemned assertions made this week by NATO after the military alliance listed China as a chief concern to global security, and on Thursday accused NATO leaders of exhibiting “ideological prejudices.”
For the first time, China found itself in NATO’s sites after the alliance met in Madrid to discuss its defense posture and affirmed that Beijing’s “ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”
“The so-called NATO’s new Strategic Concept ignores facts, distorts the truth … vilifies China’s foreign policy, makes irresponsible statements about China’s natural military development and its national defense policy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said a scathing retort Thursday, first reported Russian media outlets.
The spokesman accused NATO of promoting “confrontation and conflict” and said, “It is filled with the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices.”
NATO this week agreed to update its Strategic Concept – which serves as the alliance’s guiding principle and was last updated in 2010 – amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and growing aggression from Beijing in the Pacific.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pointed to China and Russia’s growing relationship despite Moscow’s illegal invasion of Ukraine as a major sticking point for the alliance.
“We do not regard China as an adversary,” he told reporters before the summit kicked off Tuesday. “But we are disappointed by the fact that China has not been able to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that China is spreading many of the false narratives.
“China and Russia are more close now than ever before,” he added.
The soon-to-be 32-member alliance also met with partners of non-NATO nations like Ukraine, Romania, Georgia, South Korea, Japan and Australia to discuss what they perceive to be a growing threat from Russia and China.
The Strategic Concept, approved by the member nations, said Russia “is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security,” but noted that Russia and China’s burgeoning relationship remains a top concern.
“The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests,” the document noted.
NATO leaders said they remain committed to engaging with China on top issues like trade and climate change.