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China urges NATO to stop exaggerating ‘China threat theory’

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Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pose for a group photo during a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021. (NATO/Handout via Xinhua)

The Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU) on Monday rejected NATO’s claim of presenting “systemic challenges,” saying it is a slander on China’s peaceful development and represents “a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese mission said China is committed to a defense policy “that is defensive in nature,” and its pursuit of defense and military modernization is “justified, reasonable, open and transparent.”

China’s defense budget in 2021, said the spokesperson, is about 209 billion U.S. dollars, or only 1.3 percent of its GDP, even less than NATO’s minimum 2 percent criteria.

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NATO soldiers inspecting the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 24, 2017. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah)

Meanwhile, the total military expense of 30 NATO members is expected to reach 1.17 trillion dollars this year, more than half of the total global military expenditure and 5.6 times that of China.

“The people of the world can see clearly who has military bases all over the world and who is flexing muscles by sending aircraft carriers all over the world,” the spokesperson said.

When it comes to nuclear power, the number of Chinese nuclear weapons is “by no means in the same league” with NATO member states such as the United States, the spokesperson noted, citing reports from Swedish and U.S. think tanks.

China always follows the principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance, and is committed itself unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones.

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 Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held a face-to-face summit on Monday to show their unity and agreed on the “NATO 2030” agenda to address future challenges. (NATO/Handout via Xinhua)

“I would like to ask whether NATO and its member states, which are striving for “peace, security and stability,” can make the same commitment as China?” asked the spokesperson.

China will always pursue peaceful development, but it will never give up the right to uphold peace and defend its sovereignty, security and development interests. “China will not present ‘systemic challenges’ to anyone, but we will not sit by and do nothing if ‘systemic challenges’ come closer to us,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson urged the military alliance to view China’s development in a rational manner, stop hyping up in any form the so-called “China threat”, and make earnest efforts in promoting cooperation and maintaining global and regional peace and stability.

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