BRUSSELS/BEIJING – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the West “cannot ignore” either the military or economic rise of the People’s Republic of China, and admitted that the world is “facing a shift in the global balance of power”.
Speaking to BBC Radio on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General said that Beijing was creeping ever closer to the West in multiple ways: through cyberspace, telecommunications, critical infrastructure and in Arctic exploration.
“We cannot ignore the consequences of the rise of China. China will soon have the biggest economy in the world. They already have the second-largest defense budget,” he warned.
The head of the Western military alliance also added it was important that Britain reviewed the role of Chinese tech giant Huawei in its 5G network to guarantee its security, noting that he trusts that the UK government will design its 5G networks in a way that ensures they will remain “protected and secure”.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been heavily criticized by many in the West over the decision to allow the Chinese tech giant Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network. Asked about Stoltenberg’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated that China does not pose a threat to any country and that it hopes NATO can view its development rationally, Reuters reported.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Beijing is investing “heavily” in modern military capabilities and that China added 80 ships to its navy in just the past five years, which is equal to the total number of ships belonging to the UK’s Royal Navy.
“China is becoming a more and more important military power and we have to address that,” he said, noting that NATO must ensure it remains a “strong force in the future” as it faces a “shift in the global balance of power”.