Beijing Accuses NATO's Stoltenberg of Double Standards for Hyping Up 'China Threat'
14:29 GMT 26.05.2022 (Updated: 14:39 GMT 26.05.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Beijing is urging NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to stop using contrived security concerns and double standards in his remarks about China seeking to draw "ideological lines" in Asia, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Thursday.
In a keynote speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday Stoltenberg said that certain restrictions in trade and economic relations with Russia and China are in the security interest of the West as "freedom is more important than free trade" and "the protection of our values is more important than profit." NATO chief also described Russia and China as countries with "authoritarian regimes."
"For some time, NATO Secretary General has repeatedly made unwarranted accusations to smear and attack China, made irresponsible remarks on China’s political system and domestic and foreign policies, and hyped up the so-called 'China threat' theory. China categorically rejects and strongly condemns this," Zhao told a briefing.
Zhao noted that NATO urges its member countries to devote at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to military spending, but "points fingers" when it comes China, whose "normal national defence development and military modernisation" do not exceed 1.3% of its GDP. The spokesman called this a "typical double standard" on the part of NATO.
NATO has been acting against its commitment not to expand to other regions, and some of its member states have sent warships and aircraft to the Asia-Pacific region, which Beijing considers fraught with "tensions and disputes," Zhao said. China, on the other hand, "never threatens other countries with force, never creates military alliance, never exports ideology, never meddles in others’ domestic affairs, never seeks a trade war, and never imposes unjustified oppression on foreign enterprises," he said.
"We urge Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to stop spreading denigrating remarks against China and stop drawing ideological lines. NATO has already messed up Europe. It should stop trying to destabilise Asia and the world," the spokesman concluded.
China increases its military spending on a yearly basis. Currently, Beijing's military budget is the second largest in the world after the United States. In 2021, China's military spending grew by about 6.8% to reach $209 billion. China plans to increase expenditures in 2022 by 7.1% to $229.5 billion.