NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday that China is “watching closely” whether Russia succeeds in Ukraine.
Johannes Simon |: Stringer |: Getty Images news
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday that China is closely watching Russia’s success in Ukraine, as the outcome of the war in Europe is likely to have far-reaching consequences for Beijing’s behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Beijing is closely following what is happening in Ukraine. And if Putin wins there, of course, that will affect their decisions about how to proceed 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.
Speaking 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 strengthening its cooperation with allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“We do not see China as an enemy or any immediate threat. But we appreciate that the rise of China, China’s growing economic and military power, is a challenge to our security, our interests or our values.”
He added: “Security is not regional, security is global.”
Chinese spy balloons ‘part of the pattern’
The comments come as concerns grow about China’s growing military presence around Taiwan. They also follow the sighting of a number of Chinese balloons above US airspace, prompting Washington to accuse Beijing of spying.
Stoltenberg said the balloons were part of a surveillance tactic used by China to gather intelligence on NATO allies.
“The reality is that this is part of a pattern that we’ve seen as China has stepped up its intelligence activities over many years, using many different platforms such as cyber satellites and other types of platforms to spy and gather intelligence from NATO. allied countries, both in North America and in Europe,” he added.