NATO chief sees ‘some signs’ China may support Russia’s war

NATO chief sees ‘some signs’ China may support Russia’s war

Warsaw, Poland –

NATO’s chief said on Wednesday that the military alliance has seen “some signs” that China may be planning to support Russia in its war in Ukraine, and he strongly urged Beijing to refrain from what would be a violation of international law.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also told The Associated Press in an interview that the alliance, while not a party to the war, will support Ukraine “as long as it takes.”

Asked if NATO has any indication that China might be ready to provide arms or other support to Russia’s war effort, Stoltenberg said:

“We’ve seen some signs that they might be planning for that and of course NATO allies, the United States, have warned about that because this is something that must not happen. China should not support Russia’s illegal war.”

Stoltenberg said that potential Chinese assistance would mean that “[direct] support for a clear violation of international law, and of course [as] a member of the UN Security Council, China should not in any way support violations of the UN Charter or international law.”

Putin hosts Chinese visitors

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the Chinese Communist Party’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, raising concerns in the West that Beijing may be ready to offer Moscow stronger support in the nearly year-old war.

China has pointedly refused to criticize the invasion of Ukraine while repeating Moscow’s claim that the US and NATO were guilty of provoking the Kremlin. China, Russia and South Africa are holding naval exercises in the Indian Ocean this week.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said any Chinese involvement in the Kremlin’s war effort would be a “serious problem”. China-US ties are under severe strain over Taiwan and other issues.

Stoltenberg spoke to The Associated Press in Warsaw, following a meeting between NATO’s nine eastern flank members with US President Joe Biden on the region’s security.

He stressed that while NATO is “not a party” to the Ukraine conflict, its tasks are to “ensure that Ukraine wins” and to “prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine and becoming a full-fledged war between Russia and NATO.”

He said the main message from the meeting in Warsaw was that “we will support Ukraine as long as it takes”.

It would be a “tragedy for the Ukrainians if President Putin wins in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, and also “dangerous for all of us” because it would “send the message to all authoritarian leaders that when they use military force, they get what they want.”

The Russian attack on Ukraine has prompted Sweden and neighboring Finland to abandon decades of non-alignment and apply to join the 30-nation alliance. But their bids, especially Sweden’s, are being delayed by Turkey, which wants the two countries to crack down on mostly Kurdish groups Ankara considers terrorists.

Stoltenberg told AP that after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, he could see that Turkey “is getting closer to being ready to ratify and [to] welcome Finland into the alliance. But [Ankara continues] to have some challenges with Sweden.”

He said he welcomed the fact that he and Erdogan agreed to a meeting soon “with experts and officials in Brussels” from the three countries involved “to examine how we can make progress also on the ratification of Sweden as a full NATO -ally.”


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