China has been labeled a threat by NATO, which described its policies as a “challenge” to the alliance’s interests, security and values, as Australia said it was being economically coerced by the communist nation.
The 30-strong security organization approved a new
blueprint for the next decade on Wednesday, condemning China for the first time in its more than 70-year history.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told NATO leaders that China aspired to become the “most powerful nation in the world”, and that strengthening relations between Beijing and Moscow posed a risk to all democratic nations.
“Just as Russia is trying to recreate a Russian or Soviet empire, the Chinese government is seeking friends, whether it be … through economic support to build alliances for what historically was the Western alliance in places like the Indo -Pacific, to undermine,” Mr. Albanese told the NATO meeting in Madrid.
Mr Albanese said Australia was subject to “economic coercion” by China, and has urged democratic leaders to pursue trade diversification.
NATO, which includes the US, UK, Canada and most of Europe, warned that the Chinese government was “rapidly expanding” its nuclear capability without increasing transparency or acting in good faith on arms control.
“The People’s Republic of China” [People’s Republic of China] malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation target allies and damage the security of the alliance,” NATO said in its first planning document in a decade.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said NATO should stop “trying to launch a new Cold War”.
Emmanuel Macron receives Anthony Albanian for talks
Anthony Albanian and French President Emmanuel Macron will hold talks in Paris this week to repair ties badly damaged by the drop of a submarine contract, an official said.
Macron will receive Albanians at the Elysee palace Friday morning, a French presidential official, who declined to be named, told AFP on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid.
The talks on the Elysee will be the first such formal bilateral summit between Australian and French leaders since former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tore up a French contract in September 2021 to build a dozen diesel-powered submarines.
The abolition of the contract sparked an unprecedented crisis between Canberra and Paris and such bad blood that outgoing Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian applauded Morrison’s loss in polls to the Albanian, who he said was “well with me.” suits”.
Morrison’s actions were marked by “cruelty and cynicism, and I would even be tempted to say unequivocal incompetence,” Le Drian said when he handed over his successor, Catherine Colonna, on May 21.
Canberra’s move came when it signed a new security pact with Britain and the United States. Macron called his envoys back to both Australia and the United States because of the outcry.
France was particularly confused as it considers itself a major power in the Pacific thanks to overseas territories including New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
It was also stinging when Macron received Morrison at the Elysee in June 2021, months before the stunning turnaround, with French officials saying they had no idea even privately what was to come.
Albanian announced earlier this month that French submarine maker Naval Group had agreed to a “fair and equitable settlement” of €555 million ($584 million) for Australia, ending a decade-old multi-billion dollar submarine contract.