NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has warned over the power shift China’s rise could bring, as the Coronavirus pandemic has “magnified existing trends and tensions” when it comes to the alliance’s security.
“The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power,” Stoltenberg said on Monday whilst delivering a speech on his vision of NATO in 2030.
China is “multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms, and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life,” according to the NATO chief.
Stoltenberg urged the members of the alliance for a “more global approach”, and for striving for democracy amid challenges posed by China’s and Russia’s actions in the international landscape. Efforts should focus on “standing up for a world built on freedom and democracy” and not on “bullying and coercion,” the NATO Secretary-General said.
When asked on China’s threat, he highlighted that although NATO does not see the country as an “enemy”, it needs to be ready to contain the potential threat.
Stoltenberg’s remarks came amid reports by the Wall Street Journal on Friday that Trump is considering the withdrawal of almost 30% of the US troops stationed in Germany. The latter’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas said Germany “takes note” of the possible scenario, stressing, however, that the presence of the troops is in both countries’ benefit.
The members of the North Atlantic Alliance have frequently faced acute criticism by Trump for slashing their defence spending, which could undermine the role of NATO.