Thank you. You have mentioned China, and it is very interesting because tensions in Indo-Pacific are increasing and the waves are coming to this region as well. Me being from Lithuania, I can feel these waves coming. And the question is: is China enough military and enough close to NATO to react to what’s happening in China and around?
So first of all, China is not an adversary. And the rise of China also poses and provides opportunities for NATO Allies, for our economies, for our markets. And the rise of China has also helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And of course, this is important for all of us.
And we need to engage with China on issues like arms control. I spoke with the Chinese foreign minister and that was one of my messages, that China should actually be part of future arms control arrangements and, for instance, on climate change.
But at the same time, we need to realise that yes, China is, in many ways, far away, but China matters for our security. They will soon have the biggest economy in the world. They already have the second largest defence budget. They have the biggest navy. They are investing heavily in new, modern military capabilities, including hypersonic glide vehicles, expanding significantly their arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. And of course, this is a global issue – it can reach all NATO territory. And then we also see that they are operating in cyberspace, in space – that matters for what’s going on the Earth. Also in this region, North America and Europe.
So this idea that, in a way, we can confine our security to only the Euro-Atlantic area, that doesn’t work anymore. We are an Alliance of North America and Europe, but this Alliance, this region, is faced with global threats and challenges and the rise of China is one of them. And therefore, we also need to work with partners to address that, including in the Asia-Pacific region. Läs intervjun