The alliance is a “walking war machine,” Beijing’s Defense Ministry has said
NATO is a “walking war machine” that has been spreading chaos across Asia since its formation, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters on Thursday, accusing the bloc of using the specter of a dominant Beijing to foment regional conflict.
Wu appeared to be referencing comments made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the World Economic Forum last week, in which the bloc’s leader attempted to frame its buildout in Asia as a response to purported Chinese aggression.
“It should be said that NATO is a walking ‘war machine,’ and wherever it appears, it brings disorder everywhere,” Wu said, referencing “inappropriate statements by the NATO Secretary General regarding China.”
“This is not about NATO moving into Asia, but instead about the fact that China is coming close to us,” Stoltenberg told attendees at the exclusive Davos gathering, insisting the US-led alliance remains “regional” in its focus.
Wu cautioned NATO against deliberate provocations, urging the bloc to treat China and its military development “objectively and rationally, and do something beneficial to world peace,” according to Xinhua.
Despite its moniker seemingly limiting its sphere of influence to the North Atlantic Ocean, NATO has openly courted Asian allies in an effort to counter China’s growing power. Its members already include countries thousands of kilometers from the Atlantic, such as Türkiye and Bulgaria, although Article 6 of its charter specifies that the mutual defense agreement at its core only applies to territories in Europe and North America, plus islands north of the Tropic of Cancer.
In August, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explicitly denied Washington was seeking to create a “NATO for the Pacific” with the establishment of a trilateral defense partnership with Japan and South Korea, even as President Joe Biden heralded a “new era” of collaboration with Washington’s regional allies. Last July, NATO indefinitely postponed the controversial planned opening of a liaison office in Tokyo.
Russian General Viktor Sobolev argued in September that the US planned to “drag” Tokyo and Seoul into NATO by 2030, rather than spawn a copycat organization. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington and its allies of fomenting discord with “unprecedented” activity in the region in a doomed bid to stave off the decline of the US-centric world order.
NATO members issued a joint statement in July framing China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies” as a “challenge” to the alliance’s own interests, security and values, accusing the Asian superpower of attempting to “subvert the rules-based international order.” However, the bloc insisted Beijing was not an enemy, claiming doors remained open for “constructive engagement.”