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China rejects NATO charge of 'decisive enabler' in Ukraine war, tells it not to create 'chaos' in Asia

China was described as a "decisive enabler" in the Ukraine war by NATO leaders as they congregated in Washington and expressed concern over deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing. China has repeatedly accused NATO of disrupting the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Beijing Published on: July 11, 2024 14:33 IST
NATO 75th anniversary
Image Source : REUTERS Leaders of NATO member countries, including US President Joe Biden, UK PM Keir Starmer and Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, celebrate the alliance's 75th anniversary in Washington.

Beijing: China on Thursday rejected NATO's charge of being a "decisive enabler" of Russia's Ukraine war and accused the transatlantic alliance of seeking security at the expense of others. A statement from the Foreign Ministry told NATO to not bring the same "chaos" to Asia following the strongly-worded Washington Declaration calling on Beijing to stop aiding Moscow's war effort.

“NATO agitating about China’s responsibility on the Ukraine issue is unreasonable and has sinister motives,” spokesperson Lin Jian said at a daily briefing on Thursday, maintaining that China has a fair and objective stance on the Ukraine issue. "China urges NATO to ... stop interfering in China’s internal politics and smearing China’s image and not create chaos in the Asia-Pacific after creating turmoil in Europe," he said.

Allies of NATO, who are currently in Washington to celebrate the alliance's 75th anniversary, made their sharpest rebuke of China by expressing concerns over its deepening ties with Russia, calling Beijing a "decisive enabler" of Moscow's war in Ukraine. The final communique made it clear that China was becoming a focus of the military alliance due to its rising nuclear arsenal and its capabilities in space.

Beijing has denied that it supports Russia's war efforts and insists that it conducts normal trade with its northern neighbour. However, relations between Moscow and Beijing are at their highest, as China has strengthened its trade and military ties with Russia in recent years, supplying machine tools, electronics and other items seen as contributing to the Russian war effort, without actually exporting weaponry. China has also backed Russia’s contention that NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia.

What did NATO say on China?

In the communique, NATO member countries said China has become a war enabler through its "no-limits partnership" with Russia and its large-scale support for Russia's defence industrial base. It called on China to cease all material and political support for Russia's war effort.

"This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security. We call on the PRC, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia's war effort," read the communique, which referred to China by the abbreviation of its official name, the People's Republic of China.

"The deepening strategic partnership between Russia and the PRC and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut and reshape the rules-based international order, are a cause for profound concern.  We are confronted by hybrid, cyber, space, and other threats and malicious activities from state and non-state actors," further read the declaration.

"We urge NATO to reflect on the root cause of the crisis and what it has done, and take concrete action to de-escalate rather than shift blame," Lin said at the briefing. His comments follow remarks from a spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the European Union who described the draft as "full of Cold War mentality and belligerent rhetoric, and China-related content full of provocations, lies, incitement and smears."

Ukraine on 'irreversible path' to NATO membership


The 32 members of NATO also formally declared Ukraine on an “irreversible” path to membership in the Western military alliance, offering a bare but more binding assurance of protection once its war with Russia ends. It also announced a long-term commitment of security assistance to Ukraine, although they still fell short of the firepower Kyiv needs to deter Russian forces.

NATO also condemned Russia's "irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and coercive nuclear signalling, including its announced stationing of nuclear weapons in Belarus," adding that Minsk continues to enable Russia's war in Ukraine. However, allies remain willing to maintain channels of communication with Moscow to "mitigate risk and prevent escalation."

The declaration says the alliance will continue to support Ukraine "on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership" as Kyiv continues the "vital work" of democratic, economic and security reforms. It reaffirms that NATO will "be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met."

Previously, Beijing has expressed displeasure at NATO's growing interest in Asia and demanded the alliance stay out of the Asia-Pacific region and not incite confrontation. "NATO should not use China to justify its insertion into the Asia-Pacific and attempt to disrupt regional dynamics," said Lin Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, on Tuesday.

(with inputs from agencies)

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