Beijing says NATO chief ‘exaggerating’ China threat

China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday (February 1) dismissed “exaggerating” claims made by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about Beijing’s military capabilities.

Stoltenberg made the comments as part of a visit to Japan, during which he pledged to strengthen ties with Tokyo to navigate an increasingly tense security environment triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its growing military cooperation with China. Although he said China was not an adversary, the NATO chief said the country was becoming a “more and more authoritarian power” that was displaying assertive behavior, threatening Taiwan, and developing military capabilities that could also reach NATO countries.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that NATO’s “Cold War mentality” and strengthening of defense ties with regional partners was not welcome in the Asia-Pacific region.

“China has always been the defender of world and regional peace and stability…NATO should seriously consider what role it has played in maintaining European security,” she told the media during a news conference in Beijing.

China has criticized NATO’s efforts to expand its alliances in Asia. Russia, which calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special operation,” has repeatedly cast NATO’s expansion as a threat to its security.