For NATO, China is now a “systemic challenge” for the world order

Leaders of NATO member countries in Brussels, June 14, 2021. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / POOL VIA AFP

They undoubtedly had some reservations but they did not want to disturb the very positive atmosphere of the reunion with an American partner who had returned to good intentions towards them: the European members of NATO co-signed, Monday, June 14, during the ‘a summit in Brussels, a final communiqué indicating that China now represents a “systemic challenge” for the world order and the security of the Atlantic Alliance.

Very quickly after the election of Joe Biden, his administration sent NATO headquarters a message, just as quickly relayed by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: the Alliance should put the Chinese and Russian threats on the same footing. .

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on June 14, 2021. PATRICK SEMANSKY / POOL VIA AFP

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was, as usual, cautious but urged not to give up a position “Balanced” with regard to Beijing. During his final press conference, Emmanuel Macron called on NATO not to turn away from its essential missions, not to “Confuse the objectives”, not to “skew” the relationship with China. Last week he stressed, ironically, that China was not, a priori, within the radius of action of an Alliance called to defend European territory. Beijing’s challenge is not only military, he added, and if China is a rival, it is also an essential partner in solving major current problems, climate for example.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also At NATO summit, Biden wants to insist on Russian and Chinese threats, Macron on disarmament

The very long final declaration adopted Monday evokes, in any case, the “concerns” with regard to a country which is developing in particular at high speed its nuclear arsenal and “Cooperates militarily with Russia, in particular by participating in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic zone”. A “Constructive dialogue” will therefore continue, when it will be « possible », provided that Beijing respects clear commitments in various fields (maritime, space, cyber, etc.)


Two days before his meeting with Vladmir Poutin in Geneva, Joe Biden was also assured of the firmness of his partners towards Russia. Even if, in this area too, Berlin and Paris, in particular, always recall the need not to renounce “Demanding dialogue” with the Kremlin. Emmanuel Macron insists, moreover, on the fact that the Europeans cannot be excluded from a discussion on the control of the armaments which concerns them in the first place and cannot be reduced, he says, to a tête-à-tête between the Russian and American presidents. “The will of the Europeans is to define for themselves, and for themselves, the terms of this arms control as far as European soil is concerned. “

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