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According to a new paper by defence experts, seen by Express.co.uk, NATO urgently needs to change its response to the threat posed by China. The paper was written by top defence leaders including a former secretary general of the alliance.
Published by the Policy Institute, the paper says NATO needs to develop a coherent policy towards China that includes “conflict avoidance and de-escalation.”
This is particularly in light of the country’s actions in Hong Kong and attempts to expand its influence and power in the west.
The paper read: “It is clear President Xi Jinping remains committed to the modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army by 2035 and its transformation into a “world-class” military by 2049.
“Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan.
“China’s argument with India, and ongoing disputes with Japan, demonstrate preparedness to press territorial claims from the Himalayas to the South China Seas.”
Back in May 20 Indian soldiers were killed in border clashes with their Chinese counterparts which were fought with metal bars, rocks and clubs.
An unconfirmed number of Chinese troops are also believed to have died in the hand-to-hand fighting.
Most recently fears of open conflict between China and India have surged after satellite images appeared to show a stockpile of weapons and a dramatic Chinese troop build-up along part of the contested border.
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China appears to be expanding territory elsewhere amid clashes in India and with the West.
The paper added: “In addition, China is increasing its activity in the Arctic, creating a ‘polar silk road’ and a ‘5+1’ group with Nordic nations, similar to the 17+1 group that guides China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries.”
In December 2019 NATO leaders said: “We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.
“NATO needs to develop a coherent policy towards China that includes conflict avoidance and de-escalation.”
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The paper is authored by George Robertson, who was secretary general of NATO 1999-2004.
It was also written by Michael Fallon, UK secretary of state for defence, 2014-17; Catherine Ashton, the EU’s first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, 2009-14; Peter Ricketts, UK permanent representative to NATO, 2003-06, and UK national security advisor, 2010-12; Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats, 2006-07, and the party’s former spokesperson for foreign affairs and defense; and Benedict Wilkinson, Director of Research at the Policy Institute, King’s College London.
The report comes as Indian media reports satellite images from Shiquanhe in the Tibet Autonomous Region show the build-up of 5,000 Chinese soldiers and their equipment.
Movements were allegedly first detected by India’s EMISAT spy satellites.
In addition to the troops the images purportedly show a large quantity of heavy vehicles and tents.
New helicopter landing sites are also said to be pictured.
Speaking to The Print an Indian Government figure said New Delhi had boosted its own forces in response.
They said: China has “built up” troops in large numbers.
“We, too, have brought in a large number of troops into the Ladakh sector.
“The talks are very protracted, and it seems China is intentionally dragging them.
“China no longer enjoys the surprise factor.
“They had the first-mover advantage in Ladakh initially but they have been countered there and everywhere now.”
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