NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that alliance leaders will “address” China at the upcoming Madrid summit, which will be held from June 29-30.
“We will address China, and under the consequences for our security, I think I would understand that for NATO,” Stoltenberg said. NATO is set to unveil its new Strategic Concept document at the Madrid summit, which is expected to add what it views as threats emanating from China.
The Strategic Concept is released by NATO about every 10 years. “This is a big step because in the current strategic concept, China’s not mentioned with a single word. That concept was agreed at the summit in response in 2010,” Stoltenberg said.
The Western military alliance has turned its gaze to the Asia Pacific in recent years and first formally named China as a security concern in a report published at the end of 2020 titled “NATO 2030.” The report reads: “China has an increasingly global strategic agenda, supported by its economic and military heft.”
In June 2021, all 30 NATO leaders issued a joint statement that said China poses a “challenge” to the so-called “rules-based international order.” Unsurprisingly, NATO’s stance on China has angered Beijing, which has warned the North Atlantic alliance to stay out of Asia.
The US has rallied many of its Western military allies to follow Washington in sailing warships near China’s coast. Last year, France, Germany, and Britain all sent warships into the South China Sea. The UK joined the US and Australia in signing the AUKUS military pact, which will give Canberra access to technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines.
In April, Beijing warned that the US’s plans to build up alliances in the Asia Pacific could lead to a Ukraine-style “tragedy” in the region.