NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced that he expects NATO will be deepening its relationship with its “partners” in the Asia-Pacific because China has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We see that China has been unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression, and has joined Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Tuesday. “At a time when authoritarian powers are pushing back on the rules-based international order, it is even more important for democracies to stand together, and protect our values. So I expect we will agree to deepen NATO’s cooperation with our Asia-Pacific partners, including in areas such as arms control, cyber, hybrid, and technology.”
Some “Asia-Pacific partners” named by Stoltenberg in his speech include “Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.” He also named “Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina” as additional non-NATO “partners” of the military alliance.
As the late scholar on US-Russia relations Stephen Cohen explained years before the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2014, Moscow sees NATO as an “American sphere of influence,” and the expansion of NATO and NATO influence as expansion of that sphere. As the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization continues to expand its influence and intimacy with “partners” surrounding China, we can probably expect Beijing to take a similar view.