China’s new security strategy: Global challenges to confront US influence and NATO policies


The report of the NATO Military Committee came to the meeting of the foreign ministers of NATO countries during the meeting held from 1-2 December 2020, entitled: “NATO Reform Report until 2030”, through which about (138 recommendations to be implemented within ten years), including considering Russia as the biggest opponent of NATO during the next ten years, and the fear of “China’s rise as a major challenge to NATO members”. Therefore, the “NATO reform report” recommended for “the establishment of an advisory body to NATO to coordinate Western policies towards China”.

   This report issued by NATO to set public recommendations to “curb China’s rise and influence”, has angered China, and made it respond in practice by taking “escalation security and military measures, considering that Washington is the reason behind the NATO report in confronting it”. The Egyptian researcher here will try to summarize the most prominent Chinese defenses. The new security, defense and military, whether before or after the “NATO reform report until 2030”, as follows:

China considered for the first time in the NATO’s report as “China has been officially included in a report issued by NATO), while identifying the Chinese threat and growing Chinese influence in Europe and the world, as the “strategic concept” that should be focused on, in the “NATO Reform Report within 10 years from the date of its release” in December 2020 to 2030.

The important point for the Chinese here is to ask about the main purpose of the “NATO 2030” reform report, and is the focus on building the future of NATO related only to the threat to China? The Chinese response came, saying: “The last official “strategic concept of NATO” has been written at the end of 2020, more than 10 years ago, i.e. around 2010, at which time China was not mentioned or referred to at all.

The Chinese accusation of the United States of America being behind the “NATO Reform 2030 report”, and the proof of this is: The proposal of the administration of former US President “Barack Obama” for a strategy of “rebalancing the Asia-Pacific region without focusing on the Chinese threat or confronting China’s policies”, which is the opposite of the incident now and Washington’s attempt to “shift the geopolitical focus to China”, with the US official claim to openly view China, as an “enemy”, while the truth of this, according to the Chinese, is “the inability of the United States of America to compete with China in the economic, technological and military fields”.

The Chinese did not fail to focus on “the uselessness of NATO from the ground up”, through the reference in Chinese reports, that:

   “The  “NATO 2030 Report” was issued at a time when the importance of NATO’s existence is increasingly being questioned, with French President Emmanuel Macron asserting in a public statement in 2019, that NATO is suffering from “mental death”, due to a lack of strategic coordination among its members, as well as  On American hegemony over most of his decisions”

The well-known Chinese Professor, “Zhang Jian”, Assistant Dean of “China Institute of Modern International Relations”, and Director of the European Institute in Beijing, commented that:

  “The nature of NATO determines that it does not comply with the requirements of peaceful development in the world today, in contrast to the concepts advocated by China globally, such as the concept of win-win cooperation, which enjoys popular support in the Asia-Pacific region, while NATO failed to achieve any consensus for its policies”

China responded to those (American attempts to create a copy of NATO near its areas of influence), and Chinese criticism came publicly for any attempt by NATO to create a “copy of NATO in the heart of Asia and the Pacific”, because that is not possible in the future. Chinese official reports stated that:

 “If NATO expands by force to include the Asia-Pacific region, then it will no longer be NATO in the traditional sense of the alliance, and it will become more complex, loose, virtual, and politicized”

 Chinese media reports, as well as all official Chinese responses, refuted that:

 “The intention of NATO to treat China as an enemy, or even as a potential competitor and an imaginary enemy, will inevitably lead to an increase in regional tensions”

The Chinese response to Washington and the West’s criticism of it was that “China has chosen the path of peace and development initiatives for the benefit of the peoples and the world, not confrontation”, and the published Chinese newspapers issued at Beijing, emphasizing:

  “Peace and development is still the dominant trend in the world, but peace and stability also depends on strength. Here, China must maintain strategic determination, adhere to the path of peaceful development, and avoid walking towards a direction led by others, and at the same time, we must be ready in  China to protect our legitimate rights and fundamental interests”

The first official move by (the official Chinese mission to the European Union in Brussels) to respond to the NATO report by classifying it as an enemy, came China’s reaction to classifying it as a strategic challenge to NATO, as China was quick to direct accusations to NATO countries, and affirmed that:

  “North Atlantic countries adopt the mentality of the “Cold War and the politics of bloc”

China has publicly defined its security, defense and military priorities without fear during the coming period, emphasizing the following:

  “China is committed to a military policy of a defensive nature and seeks defense and military modernization as a reasonable, open and transparent justification, so China calls on all NATO countries to stop exaggerating the Chinese threat theory”

An official statement published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing also stated that it did not understand the matter, and accused NATO of applying “double standards”, in terms of asking NATO member states to increase their military spending.  However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement noted explicitly that:

  “If China is being criticized for its military spending that does not exceed 1.3 percent of its GDP, then China does not represent a systematic challenge to anyone, and it is determined to protect its sovereignty, security and development interests”

The “Beijing News” newspaper of the Communist Party of China published in its report on June 16, 2021, an opinion article published in which it said:

 “Chinese propaganda apparatuses accompanied Joe Biden’s trip to Europe with a message now known, relating to the alleged defeat of the West and the rise of the East. In an opinion piece in the Chinese newspaper, a prominent Chinese sociologist described the G7 as “the beginning of the downfall of Western power”

In general, China continued its readiness in its areas of interest and influence to confront the United States of America and its intention to provoke China there. American tensions and its naval presence under the pretext of protecting the interests of its allies in the countries bordering this vital and strategic maritime region.

Chinese government newspapers reported that (the Chinese Air Force sent for the first time long-range bombers, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, at an air base airport in the South China Sea), in response to China’s expanding US claims to take care of the interests of its Asian allies, such as: (Japan and South Korea), and others about the disputed area.

What is new in the matter is (Chinese newspapers directly refer to the Chinese power, indirectly referring to the United States of America with the Chinese readiness towards its movements), and this is what the official “China Daily” newspaper mentioned, in a report, about:

 “The Chinese Air Force has conducted take-off and landing exercises, with an H-36K bomber, in the South China Sea”

However, despite the American mobilization attempt against China, criticism has become directed at NATO itself, and it has been likened to the phrase that “NATO is in a state similar to clinical death”, as French President “Emmanuel Macron”, described it, due to the retreat of the United States about its leadership role, its dedication to its conflict with China, and its attempt to mobilize countries with it.

Where the United States of America caused a state of division within “NATO”, considering Russia as a prominent opponent of NATO, and considering the threat of the Chinese threat to be getting stronger at all levels, and describing China as (the new opponent of the NATO military alliance).

Therefore, French President “Macron” called for the necessity of (NATO to move away from the vows of the Cold War with Russia and China), with his clear call to NATO, that:

 “Efforts should focus more on combating terrorism, which has become a troubling security challenge for the entire world, especially with former President Trump making a shift in the relationship with Russia by withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement, accusing Moscow of violating the terms of what was agreed upon”

In a new American attempt to mobilize the capabilities of “NATO” against China, and to call for the necessity of dealing with Beijing, the statements of German Foreign Minister “Heiko Maas” came in April of 2019, stating:

  “China will become the main point on both sides of the Atlantic during the twenty-first century, and the danger of China will be a challenge in all aspects, and therefore it is important to understand things well to understand what the situation requires from NATO”

In the latest statements of NATO Secretary General “Jens Stoltenberg”, he said:

 “Beijing is dragging the global balance of power to a new formula, and that this fact presents some opportunities for decision-makers in the West, but it is not without challenges, and that NATO does not intend to go to the South China Sea, but it must realize that China is becoming “closer and closer”. In view of the huge investments it is pumping into the infrastructure level for its “Belt and Road” initiative”

NATO Secretary General “Jens Stoltenberg” was not satisfied with his previous statements against China, but also warned against the growth of its power in large parts of the world. That’s meaning: “China did not intervene militarily in other countries”. Hence, the matter is just a repetition of the same American accusations against Beijing, with Stoltenberg’s assertion:

   “The large Chinese presence in Africa and the North Pole of land and cyber competition, and that China has become the owner of the second largest defense budget in the world. This would appeal to Trump, who presents himself as the Western official who understood the power of Beijing and took the initiative to reduce it”

The United States of America is issuing continuous warnings to confront Chinese influence and distrust of Beijing’s growing capabilities in European countries, and the administration of President “Joe Biden” has issued an explicit call to European countries to “show resistance to China’s investments in the digital sector, especially in the “fifth network Communications generation”, where Washington accuses Chinese companies such as “Huawei” of spying, while China is denying. This confirms my earlier notion that Washington plays a “dual role” within NATO, mixing the economic with the military and the political in relation to China.

As for the Chinese response, China has announced several times that it is well aware of what is being planned within NATO, led by Washington, and the Chinese government newspaper, “Global Times”, which is published in English in China, published a report in which it confirmed:

  “China believes that European countries have two options, either blindly following the United States of America, or continuing to cooperate with Beijing despite the American warning.  You can bear the losses and consequences if you decide to close the door to Chinese 5G technology”

At the end of 2015, China issued (a new anti-terror law that for the first time legalizes sending Chinese troops on combat missions abroad without a UN mandate). While, the Chinese President “Xi Jinping” pledged:

  “By 2049, China will turn into a world leading country, in terms of complex national forces and broad international influence, and China will work to build a stable international order, through which the Chinese recovery can be renewed at all levels and areas of importance”

With the increase in (the intensity of military and naval tensions between Taiwan and China), due to the US support for Taiwan in the face of China, which reached its climax after (the United States imposed several sanctions on the Chinese army under the pretext of interfering in Taiwan affairs), as well as with the expansion of the scope of Chinese military operations.  In the Taiwan Strait, in rejection of US secession and intervention demands, in addition to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, additionally “Taiwan and China’s strengthening of their military positions in the South China Sea”, with Washington’s assistance to the Taiwan side in confronting China.

China is trying to counter the American influence in the Taiwan Strait, Beijing intensified military and diplomatic pressure, and (carried out air and naval exercises around the island, and persuaded some regions that support Taiwan to stop doing so). But, with the increase of US support for Taiwan, Beijing considers it a province in rebellion against the authority of the People’s Republic of China warned Taiwan, as it “should not enjoy any kind of independence”. This prompted Chinese President “Xi Jinping” to emphasize in most of his political speeches since the advent of US President “Biden”, stressing:

   “The two parties – in reference to China and Taiwan – represent part of the Chinese family, and that the demands for Taiwan’s independence were an opposite current to history with no future ahead”

   Through the previous analysis of the Egyptian researcher, it is noted the extent to which China has shown a new, more assertive foreign policy towards the United States of America and its security allies, mainly in the “NATO”, which coincided with the call of the Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, to adopt a policy of “seeking to achieve improvements in its  Foreign Affairs”, especially in light of the American provocation and its interference in Chinese affairs and its areas of influence, especially after (Washington sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait) at the beginning of October 2021, which is the second operation of its kind in one year, which prompted China to warn Washington of its policies.  Hostility in the Taiwan Strait and prepare for it.  It is a wave of Chinese hostile policy to the United States of America, after the US-Taiwanese rapprochement increased since the Taiwanese President (Tai Ing-wen) assumed the presidency of Taiwan in 2016, and it belongs to the (Democratic Progressive Party) which tends to independence.

  Hence, we find that in the midst of a series of complications and global confrontations against China by the United States of America and its allies, Beijing has adopted a new military and defense strategy, based on (defending its interests and adopting a developmental approach to help others through its Belt and Road Initiative “BRI”).

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit


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