Julianne Smith, the permanent US representative to NATO, said Wednesday that the alliance will use its upcoming summit in Madrid to outline the new Strategic Concept document, which will include for the first time what NATO views as threats emanating from China.
NATO releases a new Strategic Concept document about every 10 years. The last one was published in 2010 and did not mention China. Smith said that while the Strategic Concept will put a “heavy emphasis” on Russia, there is an “appreciation across NATO that this document is not intended to last for a week. This document … is supposed to last for 10 years.”
While China hasn’t been named in NATO’s previous Strategic Concept, the alliance has made clear that it has its sights set on Beijing in recent years. In 2020, in a report titled “NATO 2030,” the alliance said it should put focus on China by increasing cooperation with Asia Pacific nations, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
At a summit in Brussels in June 2021, all 30 NATO leaders released a joint statement that said China poses a “challenge” to the so-called “rules-based international order.” Naturally, NATO’s new focus on China has drawn a rebuke from Beijing, which has warned the alliance to stay out of Asia.
While the US is focused on arming Ukraine to fight Russia, the Biden administration has said its top foreign policy priority is still China. The Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy named Beijing as the top “threat” facing the US military.