File photo: Secretary-General Stoltenberg makes a speech at the press conference in NATO Headquarters on November 29. Photo by IC
By Gu Zhixuan from guancha.cn
Leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gathered in London on Tuesday for the two-day summit in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the military alliance that was created to contend with the Soviet Union. One day before the birthday party, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg talked about China.
“We see that China’s rise is changing the global power balance. Its economic and military rise provides not only opportunities but also some serious challenges,” Stoltenberg told Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) in London on Tuesday.
This senior NATO official admitted frankly that as China “is coming closer to us” and making massive investment in infrastructure, NATO will “under no circumstance” interfere in the South China Sea region, nor does it wish to antagonize Beijing.
He also asserted that China has recently displayed “many new modern military capabilities, including intercontinental long-range missiles that can reach Europe and North America...So we will discuss at the London summit how to cope with the rise of China.”
In Stoltenberg’s opinion, China’s presence in Africa, the North Pole and the cyberspace, as well as its world’s second largest (for a nation) national defense budget, definitely affects NATO.
In addition, while claiming that NATO doesn’t want to “create a new rival”, Stoltenberg also declared “as long as NATO members stay united, we will grow stronger and we will be secure...We are the strongest military alliance in the world today.”
Speaking of NATO’s discussion about “China’s rise”, Sarah Raine, a researcher at the famous International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in the UK, said that as Washington and Beijing are handling their economic relations and western countries are debating about China’s 5G technology, such discussions would “widen instead of bridging political divergences (among the NATO members)”.
Picture shows flags of NATO members hanging on the street of London on December 2. Photo by IC
Despite the fact that the 70th anniversary is an event worth celebrating, NATO’s internal rifts are getting more serious.
Early last month, French President Macron remarked that “NATO is brain-dead”, warning European countries that “the US is turning its back on us”. His remarks caused an uproar in NATO, courting opposition from the US, Germany and Canada, as well as serious criticism from Turkish President Erdogan.
However, after the confrontation with Stoltenberg on November 28th, Mr. Macron refused to apologize for his NATO’s brain-death comments and continued to slam Mr. Trump for asking the European allies to bear more military expenses.
What’s interesting is that some British media called the ongoing intense NATO summit “a birthday party from hell”. Germany’s Left Party even said “no need to celebrate. Seventy years have been long enough for NATO.”