With Russia getting closer, China is becoming an enemy of NATO.


China is holding military exercises this week on NATO’s eastern border with Belarus, a sign of rising tensions between Beijing and the US-led defense alliance.

Joint “counter-terrorism” exercises on the territory of Russia’s ally Belarus, near the border with Poland, have begun as NATO leaders gather for a summit in Washington, with the war in nearby Ukraine high on their agenda. is at the top.

With ties between NATO on one side and China and Russia on the other, analysts believe Beijing wants to send a warning message to the alliance with the timing of the exercises.

Sino-Belarusian drills have taken place before, but this is the first since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, a NATO ally, in February 2022.

According to a statement issued by China’s Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, the drills began on July 8 in Brest, a city on the border with Poland.

The exercise will continue until mid-July, the statement said, but did not specify the exact number of Chinese troops involved.

The statement added that the two sides are “working to improve combat techniques and deepen cooperation and communication between the two armies.”

Chinese diplomatic officials insisted the drills were “not specifically aimed at any country”.

But Poland’s defense ministry criticized the timing of the exercises.

It warned of the “danger of disinformation and the use of the actions under discussion for propaganda purposes to coincide with the NATO summit”.

Although smaller in scale, the drills still involve China deploying troops on NATO’s doorstep, and in a country Russia is using as a launch pad for its invasion of Ukraine.

And the exercises are taking place at a time when Beijing, one of Moscow’s main partners, is also facing increasingly strained relations with NATO.

Strategic signal

Analysts believe that the date and location of the exercises were not chosen by chance, arguing that China wanted to send a message to NATO.

“Multilateral exercises are often used to send political signals,” Kelly Greco of the Stimson Center foreign policy and defense think tank told AFP.

In fact, she argues that when it comes to military exercises, “it’s a lot more about the political gesture than the exercise”.

She points out that China has already conducted counter-terrorism drills in Belarus four times between 2011 and 2018, but has not done so since.

He added that this “proximity to the border is also part of the signaling” taking place.

Alice Ekman, senior analyst for Asia at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), added that countries often organize their joint exercises to adapt to developments abroad — among them At least not China.

“In April 2023, the Chinese conducted drills with Russia in the East China Sea, near the Japanese islands, on the eve of the US-Japan-South Korea trilateral summit to prepare for such a summit,” Ekman told AFP. can oppose the holding of .

Similarly, China conducted military exercises in the South China Sea in May 2024 as the US-Japan-Philippines-Australia meeting was in full swing, he added.

Along with Russia getting closer, China is also becoming an enemy of NATO.

It has accused NATO of working to contain China at Washington’s instigation, with Beijing worried about the alliance’s growing role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Moreover, China has never forgiven the bombing of its embassy in Belgrade by NATO aircraft in 1999.

He also believes that the coalition has already exceeded its geographic sphere of influence in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

Aikman said NATO is perceived by China as “clearly hostile for historical reasons”.

But those reasons were “increasingly strategic as the threat from China becomes an integral part of the organization’s strategic thinking”.

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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