United against China?

At their meeting on Monday, the Nato states for the first time adopted a clear position on China, which is described in the final declaration as presenting systemic challenges. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed, however, that this did not mean China is seen as an opponent or an enemy. Commentators discuss Beijing's point of view.

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Global Times (CN) /

Show Europe what we have to offer

The Chinese newspaper Global Times, which has close ties to the Communist Party, explains how China should react to the West's positioning:

“Although the rhetoric against China seems to be a little softer than that toward Russia in the Nato summit statement, China must be able to see through the conspiracies of the US. We must be committed to expanding China-Europe cooperation. We must not only make it clear that China does not pose any threat to Europe, but also need to make Europe which is strengthening its strategic autonomy discover the significance of having China as a partner. The future of Europe is not subordinate to the US only to get a small slice of cake from Washington's hegemony. Europe needs to be able to control its own destiny. Not only China.”

Duma (BG) /

Beijing just wants business, the West wants more

The G7 have agreed on a kind of Marshall Plan for poorer and emerging countries - the Build Back Better World project - and plan to invest 40 trillion dollars in infrastructure projects. This approach is quite different from China's, Duma notes:

“It is unlikely that this initiative will be implemented altruistically. Experience shows that the West generally makes aid contingent on political commitments, for example pledges to enforce liberal democracy or the rights of sexual minorities. ... China, on the other hand, provides loans and other aid without linking them to political demands or insisting that local left-wing or communist parties enter government. Beijing simply wants financial or economic obligations to be met.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

A struggle over what society means

Joe Biden will have a lot of convincing to do when it comes to policy on China, Diário de Notícias feels sure:

“Joe Biden wants to make the case for global bipolarisation that goes beyond economic competition. And he's right. What distinguishes China from the West is not economic growth or state capitalism. It's the concept of society. It's the ideology. ... For the American economy, turning away from China poses a serious problem: the loss of an extremely important market. But if the US wins and eliminates its rival, it could be worthwhile. It will have to be worthwhile. ... For parts of Europe, the question seems to go in a different direction. Losing the Chinese market without gaining anything in return, neither economically nor in terms of global clout, just seems like a defeat.”

Il Manifesto (IT) /

China has its own vision

The leaders of G7 and Nato should align their worldview with Beijing's, China analyst Simone Pieranni recommends in Il Manifesto:

“China sees itself as a benevolent power paternalistically placing itself at the head of a new order. ... And no longer as a country that must be 'integrated' into the order that the Americans and the West want to impose, because now it can be the creator of a new order based not on universal values, but on cooperation that seeks economic growth and the well-being of all countries. ... This vision may seem naïve or even devious, and of course it raises many questions and dilemmas. But for the moment, the Chinese proposal - and this is its strength - does not presuppose a 'model' that can be exported for better or for worse. This vision can, of course, be rejected. But it cannot be ignored or disregarded.”

Politiken (DK) /

Alliance must tackle its own problems first

Politiken fears that worrying developments in several member countries are weakening Nato:

“Nato cannot present itself as a credible defender of human rights and democratic values while at the same time three member countries, Turkey, Poland and Hungary, are trampling them underfoot. Nato needs to deal with the problems in its own household first. This is in the interest of the alliance, and its responsibility.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A war on two fronts

Now Nato has two enemies again, La Stampa observes:

“Dialectical balancing acts soften the tone of the final communiqué somewhat, but they don't alter the substance: Russia and China are 'systemic rivals'. ... To confront the two autocracies - a definition that was also enforced at the G7 summit in Cornwall, which served as the appetizer to the Nato summit - a dual scheme will be necessary. One that reinvents the 'doctrine of a war fought on two fronts simultaneously' - the American pillar of the Cold War - and adapts it to the times and the means available.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Europe should not support anti-Beijing push

China is simply too important for Europe, Les Echos insists:

“Europe's commercial and energy dependence on both China and Moscow is too great for it to blindly bow to American interests - especially since Beijing became its leading trading partner last year, ahead of Washington. China is also indispensable in the fight against climate change. Because of the size of its market - 450 million inhabitants - the European Union has the power to impose a more even balance of power on China. This task is difficult enough to justify our rejection of this new wall that Washington wants to build between us and Beijing.”

Público (ES) /

The world is no longer unipolar

A Western alliance against China is anachronistic, Público adds:

“Biden's strategy seems smarter than that of his predecessors. But the basic aim remains the same: to maintain US dominance in a world that is no longer unipolar. This is an outdated approach that clashes with the EU's goals of building its own independent foreign policy. ... The G7 is planning to create a green trade infrastructure to compete with the New Silk Road envisaged by China. But this initiative - unlike the Chinese one - still needs to be mapped out in detail, find sources of financing and define its strategic orientation. Many of Washington's allies do not want to support a plan that is explicitly anti-China.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Geographical focus shifting

The most important signal to come from this summit is the expansion of the concept of security beyond the North Atlantic region, Zeit Online observes:

“Nato is looking to the Indo-Pacific region and wants to intensify cooperation with its 'partners' there - Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ... Most European Nato states, on the other hand, still see themselves more threatened by Russia; the challenge from China worries them less. The summit in Brussels should have made it clear to them that the focus of American foreign policy is finally shifting to the Indo-Pacific. ... In global political terms the traditional Nato area is shifting more and more to the periphery from Washington's point of view.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

The West has lost its advantage

wPolityce.pl wants to see security policy at the top of the political agenda:

“The current situation of the Nato states is so much more complicated than in the past. This is because the technological edge that used to be an advantage of the collective West over potential enemies is a thing of the past. Research into new types of weapons, the use of artificial intelligence for military purposes or, more generally, imminent technological breakthroughs related to the Internet of Things are robbing the West of its lead in these areas. And this means that the basic assumptions in security policy must be revised.”