China Is Enabling Russia’s War Against Ukraine – NATO

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Nato leaders have labelled China a “decisive enabler” of Russia’s war against Ukraine and called its deepening ties with Moscow a cause of “deep concern”, in what has been seen as the most serious rebuke against Beijing from the alliance.

The final communique, approved by the 32 Nato members at the summit in Washington, also highlights concerns about Beijing’s nuclear arsenal and its capabilities in space.

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“I think the message sent from Nato from this summit is very strong and very clear, and we are clearly defining China’s responsibility when it comes to enabling Russia’s war,” the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg said, calling the statement an important message.

Nato leaders have urged China “to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort”, adding that Beijing has become a large-scale supporter of Russia’s “defence industrial base”.

“This includes the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment, and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defence sector,” the declaration said.

Beijing insists that it does not provide direct military aid to Russia, but has maintained strong trade ties with its neighbour throughout the conflict.

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China’s foreign ministry expressed displeasure at Nato’s growing interest in Asia and demanded the alliance stay out of the Asia-Pacific region and not incite confrontation. Beijing’s mission to the EU said the summit was “filled with cold war mentality and belligerent rhetoric”.

“The China-related paragraphs are provocative with obvious lies and smears,” the mission said in a statement.

On Thursday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said the Nato statement was “malicious” and that China’s position on Ukraine was to “promote peace talks and political settlement”.

Last month, China skipped a peace summit for Ukraine held in Switzerland, on the grounds that it did not meet Beijing’s expectations, which included the participation of Russia.

The Nato statement came as leaders from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea were set to attend summit talks on Thursday. It will be the third year in a row that leaders from the four Asia-Pacific partners have met at the summit.

The final communique also accused China of being behind sustained, malicious cyber and hybrid activities, including disinformation. It also raised alarms that China is rapidly expanding and diversifying its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and a larger number of sophisticated delivery systems.

Danny Russel, the former US assistant secretary of state for Asia, called the new wording by Nato “an extraordinary step”.

“It is a mark of how badly Beijing’s attempt to straddle Russia and western Europe has failed and how hollow its claim of neutrality rings,” said Russel, who is vice-president for international security and diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute. “China’s attempts at divide-and-conquer have instead produced remarkable solidarity between key nations of the Euro-Atlantic and the Asia-Pacific regions.”

This week Chinese troops have been conducting joint military drills in Belarus, to which neighbouring Poland says it is paying close attention. China and Belarus are allies of Russia, while Poland is a Nato member and supporter of Kyiv.

“The defence ministry is well aware of the risk of the operations in question being used for disinformation and propaganda purposes,” Poland’s defence ministry told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.

China has previously held joint drills with Belarus, though these are the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The “Falcon Assault” drills started on Monday and are set to run until mid-July, with China’s defence ministry saying it hoped to deepen cooperation with Minsk.

Photo Credit: Getty

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