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NATO faced rebukes from Moscow and Beijing today after it declared Russia a “direct threat” and said China posed “serious challenges ” to global stability.
During a summit in Madrid, the Western military alliance described a world plunged into a dangerous phase of big-power competition and facing myriad threats, from cyberattacks to climate change.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said as the summit wrapped up today that member nations agreed on a “fundamental shift in our deterrence and defence” and sent Moscow a clear message that the alliance had a firm line drawn on its eastern frontier.
Nato also claimed that China “strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains” and warned of its close ties with Moscow.
China shot back, saying Nato was a source of instability and vowed to defend its interests.
“Since Nato positions China as a ‘systemic challenge,’ we have to pay close attention and respond in a co-ordinated way. When it comes to acts that undermine China’s interests, we will make firm and strong responses,” its statement said.
Over their three days of talks in Spain, Nato leaders formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, after overcoming opposition from Turkey. If the Nordic nations’ accession is approved by the 30-member nations, it will give Nato a new 800-mile border with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he would respond in kind if the Nordic pair allowed Nato troops and military infrastructure onto their territory. He said Russia would have to “create the same threats for the territory from which threats against us are created.”
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