Bucharest, Nov 30 (EFE).- Nato foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest on Wednesday discussed how to overcome the allies’ supply chain dependence on China.
At a press conference at the end of the second day of the summit, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg insisted that while the alliance does not view China as “an adversary” and would continue to “engage with China when it is in our interests,” the allies must “remain clear-eyed” in its relations with Beijing, particularly considering “China’s ambitious military developments, its technological advances, and its growing cyber and hybrid activities.”
Stoltenberg pointed to the war in Ukraine and many European nations’ urgent need to reduce their reliance on Russian gas imports as a cautionary tale with regard to Nato members’ relations with China and other “authoritarian regimes.”
“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated our dangerous dependency on Russian gas,” the Nato chief said. “This should also lead us to assess our dependencies on other authoritarian regimes, not least China. For our supply chains, technology or infrastructure.”
He clarified that the alliance would “of course” maintain important trade and economic ties with China, but he urged allies to “be aware of our dependencies, reduce our vulnerabilities and manage the risks.”
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, meanwhile, said in a separate press conference after the summit that his country wants to “avoid” conflicts with China and that it wants to see “convergence” with its partners to face the various challenges posed by Beijing.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, we do not seek conflict with China; on the contrary, we want to avoid it. We don’t want a new Cold War; we’re not looking to decouple our economies. We’re simply looking to be clear-eyed about some of the challenges that China poses and (…) to make sure that in addressing those challenges we’re doing it with others,” he said.
Blinken also said that “it is not about taking Nato to Asia” or acting outside its sphere of influence, but about jointly addressing some of the challenges posed by China and monitoring the resilience of allied infrastructures.
Some Nato countries have expressed concern about Russia’s war in Ukraine and how that conflict might distract attention from China’s growing regional assertiveness and its long-term impact. EFE