Do not repeat Russia mistakes with China, NATO chief urges the West

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Western countries should be wary of forging links with China (Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Western countries should be wary of forging links with China (Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The West must not repeat mistakes it made with Russia when it comes to China, NATO’s chief warned today.

The alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Vladimir Putin ’s invasion of Ukraine showed why democratic countries should be wary of forging links with Beijing.

Addressing the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, Mr Stoltenberg warned: “It is dangerous to depend on authoritarian regimes.

“It was not long ago that many believed that buying gas from Russia was purely a commercial matter; the reality is that it is a political issue, it is about our safety - business is also politics.

“We must not repeat this mistake with other authoritarian regimes - not least China.”

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Do not repeat Russia mistakes with China, NATO chief urges the WestChinese President Xi Jinping during the China-Arab Summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh (SPA/AFP via Getty Images)

He urged countries not to sell Chinese companies stakes in vital, national infrastructure such as ports, railways and 5G networks.

“We cannot take as a starting point that every profitable project should be carried out just because it is profitable,” said the military pact boss.

“Short-term economic interests cannot trump fundamental national interests.”

He pointed to growing connections between Russia and China, saying their forces “train and operate more together militarily” and “they have an increasing economic cooperation”.

Do not repeat Russia mistakes with China, NATO chief urges the WestRussian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow, Russia (Mikhail Klimentyev/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Warning that “it is dangerous to underestimate Russia”, former Norwegian Prime Minister Mr Stoltenberg feared that, while a Russian victory in Ukraine would “be a tragedy for the Ukrainians, a Putin triumph “is also dangerous for us”.

He went on: “The message to him and other authoritarian leaders will be that if they use military force, they will get what they want.

“It will make us more vulnerable, there will be no lasting peace if oppression and tyranny win over freedom and democracy.”

He believed the conflict would “end at the negotiating table” - with President Volodymyr Zelensky ’s bargaining power boosted by Ukraine's “strength on the battlefield”.

Do not repeat Russia mistakes with China, NATO chief urges the WestUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a visit to Kherson (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Urging allies to continue shipping arms to Kyiv, Mr Stoltenberg said: “If we want a negotiated peace solution, where Ukraine survives as an independent democratic country in Europe, the fastest way to get there is to support Ukraine.

“Weapons are, in fact, the way to peace.”

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Ben Glaze

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation