NATO head Stoltenberg: EU needs the US to protect against China

The European Union needs the United States in order to adequately protect itself from China, NATO’s secretary-general warned Monday.

In an interview with Politico, Jens Stoltenberg argued that in order to address the threats from a rising China, a close transatlantic alliance would be necessary.

“To protect Europe, we need the transatlantic bond, we need North America, the U.S. and Canada. Any attempt to go alone, either for Europe or for North America, would be bad for all of us. We need to stand together,” Stoltenberg argued.

“And any attempt to divide Europe from North America will not only weaken NATO but also divide Europe. So I welcome European unity, but European unity will not replace transatlantic unity.”

The alliance’s secretary-general went on to say that he favored a greater EU investment in defense if the US maintained a strong NATO alliance.

In his view, he said, this should mean “better burden-sharing, increased defense investment, addressing the fragmentation of the European defense industry … as long as [these efforts] don’t duplicate or compete with NATO.”

As for why the alliance needs such unity, Stoltenberg warned of “serious challenges related to the rise of China.”

“We all realize that the global balance of power is changing in a fundamental way. The rise of China is really changing the security environment we face,” he said, noting Beijing’s enormous defense budget and heavy investments “in new capabilities, including nuclear weapons, missiles, new technologies.”

“If anything, the size of China — the military size, the economic size, their achievements in technology — all of that makes NATO even more important. No single ally, not even the United States, can address this alone,” Stoltenberg continued.

NATO should also create “a community of like-minded democracies” that oppose Chinese values espoused by their detainment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and stripping of political autonomy in Hong Kong. Specifically, he named Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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