China's mission to the European Union called on NATO to stop exaggerating the "China threat theory" after the group's leaders said that the country presents "systemic challenges".
NATO leaders acknowledged in a Brussels summit communique on Monday that their countries faced systemic competition from powers they perceive as being "assertive and authoritarian."
They said China's growing influence could present challenges that the military alliance needed to address together.
In a summit statement, the leaders said that China’s goals and “assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security”.
NATO leaders agreed during the summit in Brussels to work out a new strategic concept that will guide its approach to Russia, China and emerging threats and challenges. It will be prepared for adoption at the next summit in Spain in 2022.