BRUSSELS – Under pressure from the United States, NATO has decided to look beyond the European continent, towards the Indo-Pacific region, and in particular towards China. After a long negotiation, the member countries of the military organization explained on Monday 14 June that the Asian giant reflects “systemic challenges”. The stance comes as the Atlantic alliance aims to increase its budget in a particularly uncertain international context.
The NATO strategy for the next decade
In a statement at the end of the first meeting in the presence of the heads of state and government since December 2019, NATO outlined its strategy for the next decade. By the end of 2022 he will develop a new strategic concept, the 2030 initiative. After the years of Donald Trump, who had defined the military organization as “obsolete”, the new president Joe Biden reiterated the centrality of NATO in politics American foreign.
“China’s ambitions and assertive behavior are systemic challenges to the rules-based international order, as well as to areas relevant to the security of the Alliance,” the statement read. “We are concerned by these coercive policies (…) China is rapidly strengthening its nuclear arsenal (…) It is not very transparent in its military modernization. We are concerned about the frequent lack of transparency and the use of disinformation ».
Compromise on China
The verbose communiqué – 45 pages, 79 points – was the subject of heated diplomatic negotiations. In confirmation of the fact that China has become a threat to its supremacy in the eyes of the United States, Washington would have liked NATO to define the Asian country as an adversary. Many European countries have slowed down. The very option of considering him a competitor was rejected. The result is that, in the statement, Beijing is seen as a systemic challenge.
According to the information gathered here in Brussels, Germany was the country that most asked for greater balance, also underlining that the Asian country is not only a threat, but also an opportunity. Chancellor Angela Merkel herself, at the end of the summit, asked for “balance” in this juncture. “China’s military rise is obviously a problem. But that doesn’t mean we can forget all covenant obligations in our neighborhood. “