NATO Chief Condemns China’s ‘Bullying,’ Calls for Japan–NATO Cooperation

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is condemning China’s communist regime for “bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan.”

During a visit to Tokyo on Jan. 31, Stoltenberg said that it’s a “critical moment for NATO and for Japan,” and warned that China and Russia are “leading an authoritarian pushback against international rules-based order.”

He further stressed that Japan and other democratic nations should work together with NATO to prevent the erosion of the international rules-based order at the hands of the Chinese regime, and that the trans-Atlantic and Indo–Pacific regions are “deeply interconnected.”

“China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors and threatening Taiwan, trying to control critical infrastructure and spreading misinformation about NATO and the war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

“China is not our adversary, but we must understand the scale of the challenge and work together to address it.”

In an interview with Nikkei, Stoltenberg said that any attempt by China to unilaterally change the status quo with Taiwan would draw “severe consequences.”

Japan and NATO Seek ‘Peace and Stability’

Japan, which is one of the United States’ closest allies, has expanded its military ties with other Indo–Pacific nations in recent years, as well as with Britain, Europe, and NATO amid growing threats from communist powers in China and North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida welcomed NATO’s engagement in the Indo–Pacific region and announced that Japan will open a delegation office at NATO and plans to regularly attend high-level council meetings and chiefs of defense meetings to promote closer communication between Japan and the alliance.

Kishida said that he and Stoltenberg also agreed to advance ties in areas such as cyberspace, space, disinformation, and critical and emerging technologies.

They also issued a joint statement saying that NATO and Japan view one another “as reliable and natural partners, who share common values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as well as strategic interests.”

The statement also warns that China and Russia’s growing military cooperation, including drills around Japan’s territorial waters, could destabilize the region.

“With regard to China’s rapid strengthening of its military capabilities and expansion of military activities, we strongly encourage China to improve transparency and to cooperate constructively with international efforts for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation,” the statement says.

Similarly, the duo stressed the importance of “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and called on China’s communist regime to desist from its aggressive provocations against Taiwan.

“Our basic positions on Taiwan remain unchanged, and we emphasize the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community,” the statement says.

Japan’s government issued a new national security strategy in December, which outlined its intent to build up its military and deploy long-range missiles to preempt enemy attacks for the first time since World War II. Japan also plans to double its defense spending over five years and improve military ties with the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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