Brussels, June 14: NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has said that leaders of the transatlantic alliance should forge a stronger common policy towards China that does not share the group’s values.
“China does not share our values. We see the way they crackdown democratic protest in Hong Kong, how they oppress the minorities like Uyghurs and how they use modern technology to do surveillance on its own populations, in a way we have never seen before,” Stoltenberg told Canadian public network CBC. “It makes it important for NATO to develop a policy and strengthen a policy on China,” NATO chief added.
Noting the growing military strength of Beijing, Stoltenberg also said that China has the second-largest defense budget in the world, the biggest navy, and is investing massively in new military equipment, which “affects our security.”
“The rise of China is defining for our security for our transatlantic bond. Of course, the rise of China provides us an opportunity for our economies. But we need to talk to China on issues like climate change and arms control, at the same time the fact that China has the largest economy in the world, biggest navy in the world.”
This comes as US President Joe Biden arrived in Brussels from the UK, as leaders of the 29 other NATO member countries were converging there for the Monday summit.
On Sunday, the G7 leaders including Biden, in the Carbis Bay communique asked China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of committing serious rights abuses against the Uyghurs. The statement also made reference to Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong.
“We will promote our values, including by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law,” the communique stated.