The general secretary of the NATOJens Stoltenberg, assured this Wednesday that there is no record that China has provided military aid to Russia in the war against Ukraine, but warned Beijing of “severe consequences” if it does.
“China knows that there will be severe consequences if it delivers lethal aid to Russia” and this has been “made clear by many allies, including the biggest ally”, said Stoltenberg, alluding to the United States, during a press conference at the end of the two-day meeting held by the NATO foreign ministers, marked by the official entry of Finland into the organization.
The Alliance Secretary General stated that if Beijing delivered weapons to Moscow “it would be a big mistake”, without pointing out that, “for now, we have not seen confirmation“That this happened.
However, he said that China and Russia “they have approached” and, in this sense, recalled the agreement of “limitless friendship” which Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed just before the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
“China refuses to condemn Russian aggression, echoes Russian propaganda and props up the Russian economy. China and Russia are also intensifying their joint military activities in the Indo-Pacific region.Stoltenberg noted.
The declarations of the secretary general of the Alliance took place just after a meeting in which the allied ministers discussed with the partners of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea the threat that China currently represents for the Indo-Pacific region.
In addition to the “growing activities” from Russia and China, Stoltenberg reported that at the meeting they also discussed the threats and challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, including instability or terrorism, and assured that they will continue “collaborating closely” with partners such as Mauritania and Tunisia for “help them strengthen their defense institutions and stabilize their countries”.
Ambition in military spending
Another issue the ministers discussed was the new defense spending target they want to set at the next NATO summit in Vilnius in July.
“When I talk about a stronger commitment it is about having a much stronger language”, he stressed stoltenbergwhich, like many other allies, proposes that the goal agreed in 2014 of investing 2% of GDP in defense become “on a ground to start from”, instead of a “ceiling” to reach.
He made it clear that it should not be “an ambitious goal to be achieved in the distant future”, but “something to which we should commit strongly”.
“I really think it will make a difference”, he asserted.
Empty promises from Russia
On the first day of the ministerial meeting, the allies held a NATO-Ukraine Commission in which they stressed their political support for that country as well as its military support to defend itself against Russian aggression.
“We don’t know when this war will end. But when it is over, we must ensure that President Putin cannot continue to undermine European security. That is why we must empower Ukraine to deter and defend against future aggression.”, he stated today stoltenberg.
As he said, that includes “strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces and agreements for the security of Ukraine”.
The allies have already started working on the development of a multi-annual strategic aid program for kyiv and with a view to increasing its interoperability with the NATO by equating it to Alliance standards, which “help Ukraine on its way to Euro-Atlantic integration”, according to Stoltenberg.
Asked about Russia’s announcement that it will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in its ally Belarus, the Norwegian considered that, taking into account that Putin had signed a declaration with Xi after his recent visit to Moscow in which they reject the deployment of nuclear weapons in the abroad, “It just shows that these are empty promises.”.
He insisted that, for the moment, the Alliance has not perceived any change in Russia’s nuclear posture, although he assured that they will remain “watchmen”.
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