NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance, has declared China a security threat for the first time, warning that Beijing’s ambitions and coercive behaviour are a major challenge to the group’s interests, putting its forces on a potential war-footing against Russia.
According to media reports, NATO's new 10-year strategic blueprint, agreed to by leaders at a summit in Spain on Thursday morning, called out the rising Asian power for conducting "malicious" cyber operations, for its strategic partnership with Russia, rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal and its efforts to dominate key supply chains.
China reacted to being labelled a threat by calling the Western alliance a "Cold War remnant" and a source of instability that is "smearing" Beijing's international reputation.
Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, at the summit as part of the ‘Asia Pacific 4' group of guests, said the Western world needs to reassert its democratic values.
He dismissed China's criticism of NATO and declared the summit "extremely successful".
The 30-member alliance agreed to formally treat Russia as the "most significant and direct threat to the allies' security", condemning its "brutal and unlawful invasion" of Ukraine as having "gravely altered" Europe's security environment.