NATO Allies Say China a ‘Decisive Enabler’ of Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Frank Fang
By Frank Fang
July 10, 2024World News

NATO allies issued a stern critique of China on Wednesday in a joint statement, calling the communist regime a “decisive enabler” of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“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 aggression against Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The joint communique, signed by  NATO’s 32 member states, made it clear that China has now become a focus of the transatlantic alliance, which was formed as part of efforts to counter the spread of the Soviet Union’s communist ideology

“The PRC has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called ‘no limits’ partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defence industrial base. This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security,” their joint declaration, signed following a summit in Washington, reads, referring to China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin elevated their ties to a “no limit” partnership in February 2021, just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. In 2023, bilateral trade between the two countries reached a new record of $240.1 billion, up 25 percent from a year earlier, according to China’s official customs data.

“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 U.N. Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort,” the declaration reads.

“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 includes a veiled threat against the CCP, saying that communist officials in Beijing “cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the European Union issued a statement dismissing the declaration as “filled with Cold War mentality,” saying that NATO’s concerns about China “are provocative with obvious lies and smears.”

The declaration also included NATO member states’ concerns about the CCP’s buildup of its nuclear arsenal, space behaviors, and malicious cyber behaviors.

“We have seen sustained malicious cyber and hybrid activities, including disinformation, stemming from the PRC. We call on the PRC to uphold its commitment to act responsibly in cyberspace,” the declaration reads.

A First For NATO

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was the first time that all NATO allied states have stated their position to China so clearly in an agreed document, during a press conference following Wednesday’s summit.

“China provides dual-use equipment, microelectronics, a lot of other tools which are enabling Russia to build the missiles, to build the bombs, to build the aircraft, to build the weapons [Russia is] using to attack Ukraine, and the fact that this is now clearly stated, agreed by all NATO allies, is an important message to China,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.

In June, the Biden administration announced new sanctions against more than 300 individuals and firms based in multiple countries including China, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, accusing them of aiding Russia’s war.

One of the sanctioned Chinese entities is China’s state-owned company Poly Technologies Incorporated (PTI). According to the U.S. State Department, PTI “has shipped dual-use and defense-related equipment to numerous U.S.-designated Russian defense sector entities since February 2022.”

At the NATO Public Forum on Wednesday, Mr. Stoltenberg said that if China continued its support for Russia, the CCP would not be able to have a “normal relationship with NATO Allies.”

Mr. Stoltenberg also spoke about the need for NATO to engage closely with its Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea who are concerned about the CCP’s aggressive posturing in their backyards.

“Threats and challenges that China poses to our security is a global challenge,” he said. “And the war in Ukraine is perhaps the most obvious example or as the Japanese Prime Minister said several times: What happens in Ukraine today, can happen in Asia tomorrow.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles are attending this year’s NATO summit.

Ahead of the NATO summit, Mr. Kishida told Reuters that “the securities of the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific are inseparable.”

Millions in Dual-Use Exports

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has long spoken out against China’s contribution to Russia’s defense industry. In April, he said that Moscow would “struggle” to sustain its attack without Chinese support.

At the NATO forum, Mr. Blinken put Chinese support for Russia’s war effort into numbers.

“Seventy percent of the machine tools that Russia is importing are coming from China; 90 percent of the microelectronics that Russia is importing [are] coming from China. And that’s enabled it to sustain its aggression against Ukraine,” Mr. Blinken said.

Chinese exports of metalworking machine tools reached $943.5 million in 2023, up from $361.8 million in 2022 and $165.1 million in 2021, according to the Jamestown Foundation, citing data from China’s official customs data.

Luka Ignac, assistant director for the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, said it is significant that NATO has decided to highlight the “deepening strategic partnership” between Russia and China.

“This acknowledgment underscores the Alliance’s unity and awareness of the evolving geopolitical landscape,” Mr. Ignac said in a statement. “By recognizing the mutually reinforcing attempts by Russia and the PRC to undercut and reshape the rules-based international order, NATO lays a crucial foundation for formulating strategies to address and counteract this burgeoning nexus.

“This statement signals a collective commitment among member states to not only monitor but also actively engage in identifying and implementing measures to mitigate the influence of this partnership.”

From The Epoch Times