NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday that China is “closely watching” whether Russia is successful in Ukraine or not.
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that China is closely monitoring Russia’s success in Ukraine, with the outcome of the European war likely to have far-reaching implications for Beijing’s behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Beijing is watching closely what is happening in Ukraine. And of course, if Putin wins there, that will affect their decisions about how to behave in Asia,” Stoltenberg told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
“What happens in Europe, in Ukraine, is important for Asia, and what happens in Asia is important for Europe,” he said at the Munich Security Conference.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoltenberg said NATO does not see China as an “imminent” threat.
However, he noted that the military coalition is stepping up cooperation with allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“We don’t see China as an enemy or an immediate threat. But we appreciate that the rise of China, China’s growing economic and military power, poses a challenge to our security, our interests or our values.”
He added: “Security is not regional. Security is global.”
Chinese Spy Balloons “Part of a Pattern”
The comments come as concerns mount over China’s growing military presence around Taiwan. They are also following the discovery of a string of Chinese balloons over US airspace that prompted Washington to accuse Beijing of espionage.
Stoltenberg said the balloons are part of a pattern of surveillance tactics China is using to gather intelligence on NATO allies.
“The reality is that this is part of a pattern that we have seen where China has increased its intelligence activities over many years, using many different platforms such as cybersatellites and other types of platforms to spy on information from NATO and to collect. allied countries, both in North America and in Europe,” he added.