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Biden, Putin strike conciliatory tones as N-talks start at UN

Within days of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Putin put the country’s deterrence forces on high alert, citing what he called aggressive statements by NATO leaders and Western economic sanctions against Moscow…reports Asian Lie News

President Joe Biden said on Monday he is ready to pursue a new nuclear arms deal with Russia and called on Moscow to act in good faith as his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said there could be no winners in any nuclear war.

Both leaders issued written statements as diplomats gathered for a month-long UN conference to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It was supposed to have taken place in 2020, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It occurs at a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the conference. “Humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”

He warned that crises “with nuclear undertones are festering,” citing the Middle East, North Korea and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Within days of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Putin put the country’s deterrence forces — which include nuclear arms — on high alert, citing what he called aggressive statements by NATO leaders and Western economic sanctions against Moscow.

But in a letter to participants at the NPT review conference, Putin wrote: “There can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community.”

Arms control has traditionally been an area in which global progress has been possible despite wider disagreements. The UN conference takes place five months after Russia invaded Ukraine and as US-China tensions flare over Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

Moscow and Washington last year extended their New START treaty, which caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy and limits the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them, until 2026.

“My Administration is ready to expeditiously negotiate a new arms control framework to replace New START when it expires in 2026,” Biden said. “But negotiation requires a willing partner operating in good faith.”

“Russia should demonstrate that it is ready to resume work on nuclear arms control with the United States,” he said.

But Russia’s mission to the United Nations questioned if the United States was ready to negotiate, accusing Washington of withdrawing from talks with Moscow on strategic stability over the Ukraine conflict.

“It is high time Washington made up its mind, stopped rushing around, and told us frankly what it is that they want – escalate the situation in the area of international security or embark on equal negotiations,” Russia’s UN mission said in a statement.

Biden also called on China “to engage in talks that will reduce the risk of miscalculation and address destabilizing military dynamics.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN conference that Washington was committed to seeking a comprehensive risk reduction package that would include secure communications channels among nuclear weapon states.

“We stand ready to work with all partners, including China and others, on risk reduction and strategic stability efforts,” he said.

Blinken also said a return to the 2015 nuclear deal remains the best outcome for the United States, Iran and the world, and again accused North Korea of preparing for a seventh nuclear test.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged all nuclear states to conduct themselves “responsibly.” Kishida is from Hiroshima, which on Aug. 6, 1945, became the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear bombing.

“The world is worried that the threat of the catastrophe of use of nuclear weapons has emerged once again,” he told the conference. “It must be said that the path to a world without nuclear weapons has suddenly become even harder.”

Nuclear war must never be fought: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and must never be fought.

He made the remarks on Monday in his greeting to the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“We believe that there can be no winners in a nuclear war, and it must never be fought; we advocate equal and inseparable security for all members of the international community,” TASS News Agency quoted the President as saying.

Putin said that Russia as signatory to the NPT consistently followed its letter and spirit.

“Our obligations under bilateral agreements with the United States on the reduction and limitation of relevant weapons have also been fulfilled.”

The Russian leader stressed that “we are convinced that all NPT-compliant countries should have the right of access to civilian nuclear power without any additional terms whatsoever”.

“We are ready to share with the partners our experience in the field of nuclear energy,” he added.

In conclusion, Putin said that Russia hopes this conference will make a significant contribution to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime to ensure peace, security and stability in the world, Xinhua news agency reported.

The NPT Review Conference is held once in five years. The 10th one was to be held in New York in May 2020, it was delayed due to the Covid pandemic and rescheduled for August 1-26, 2022.

The NPT was signed in 1968 and legitimised the nuclear arsenals of the US, UK, China, Russia, and France.

Other states, by signing the document, are stripped of the right to create or acquire weapons of mass destruction.

More than 190 countries are now parties to the treaty.

While Israel, India and Pakistan remain outside the treaty, North Korea withdrew from the agreement in 2003.

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‘Russia a danger to Europe’

“Thanks to Ukraine, this danger is contained today. But I think that this danger will unfortunately become topical in the future,” said Polish President…reports Asian Lite News

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda considers Russia a “danger to Europe”.

“Should Ukraine, with its heroic resistance, fail to withstand Putin’s imperial plans, Poland and the Baltic states would be directly threatened by a further expansion of Russia’s sphere of influence into Central Europe,” Duda told Tuesday’s edition of Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, news agency dpa reported.

Duda spoke of “Great Russian ideas that are about subordinating other peoples.” These are not only ideas of Russian President Vladmir Putin, he said, rather a large part of Russian society is imbued with them.

“Thanks to Ukraine, this danger is contained today. But I think that this danger will unfortunately become topical in the future,” the Polish President continued. “The only thing that can be done is to strengthen our own security.”

Poland has donated 260 older T-72 tanks to Ukraine, according to Duda. This has created a gap in its own troops, he said, which must be filled by accelerating the acquisition of new tanks.

Poland also hopes for the delivery of German Leopard tanks. So far, however, a so-called circular swap, with which Polish deliveries to Ukraine would be compensated by replacements from Germany, has not come about. Poland was not satisfied with Berlin’s previous offer of 20 Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered from 2023.

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US, Europe worst hit in global monkeypox outbreak: WHO

Over 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported to the WHO from 78 countries. More than 70 per cent of these came from the European region and 25 per cent from the America…reports Asian Lite News

Europe and the Americas have been affected the most by the monkeypox outbreak, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists here on Wednesday.

These two regions have reported 95 per cent of the diagnosed cases, he said, warning against stigma and discrimination in monkeypox messaging.

Over 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported to the WHO from 78 countries. More than 70 per cent of these came from the European region and 25 per cent from the Americas, he said.

He said that 98 per cent of the reported cases have been among men who have sex with men, stressing that stigma and discrimination can be “as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak.”

“As we have seen with COVID-19 misinformation,” it can spread rapidly online, he said, “so we call on social media platforms, tech companies and news organizations to work with us to prevent and counter harmful information.”

Last Saturday, the WHO officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). A PHEIC is the highest level of alert that the United Nations (UN) health body can give.

The WHO has been urging countries to take the monkeypox outbreak seriously by taking the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups. “The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure and make safe choices,” he said.

“For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed.”

Meanwhile, Canada, the European Union and the US have already approved the vaccine called MVA-BN (Modified Vaccinia Ankara – Bavarian Nordic) for use against monkeypox, and two other vaccines are also being assessed. However, due to the lack of data on the effectiveness and dosage of the vaccines, the WHO currently does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox. It also urges all countries that are administering such vaccines to collect and share critical data on their effectiveness. (ANI/Xinhua)

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Poland eyes gas independence

Morawiecki also commented on the gas deal reached on Tuesday between member states, where they are committed to reducing their gas use by 15 per cent from this August through the end of March 2023…reports Asian Lite News

Poland could become sovereign in selecting gas supplies by the end of this year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

“Poland started to build a Baltic pipeline from Norway, launched the construction of several interconnectors and decided to expand gas intake capacity at our liquefied natural gas terminal in Swinoujscie,” Morawiecki said.

All these actions have resulted in a situation “where by the end of this year we can be fully and genuinely sovereign when it comes to gas”, Xinhua news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

Morawiecki also commented on the gas deal reached on Tuesday between member states, where they are committed to reducing their gas use by 15 per cent from this August through the end of March 2023.

“We have changed the European Commission’s original proposals so that it would reflect the different conditions of member states,” he added.

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Amazon hikes Prime subscription in UK, Europe by up to 43%

In France, the subscription has been hiked by 43 per cent from 49 euros per year to 69.90 euros…reports Asian Lite News

Amazon is set to raise its Prime subscription prices by up to a whopping 43 per cent in the UK and Europe from September this year — first such increase in the UK since 2014.

In an email to customers blaming “increased inflation and operating costs” for the hike, the e-commerce giant said that its annual Prime subscription will jump 20 per cent in the UK from 79 pounds to 95 pounds from September 15, reports The Verge.

Whether Amazon Prime will increase the subscription in India is yet to be seen, a country where it has over 22 million users and the company is rolling out a major redesign for Prime Video.

In France, the subscription has been hiked by 43 per cent from 49 euros per year to 69.90 euros.

Amazon will also hike prices in Spain and Italy by 39 percent annually while Germany will see an annual 30 per cent rise.

Recently, the company hiked Prime costs in the US to $139 per year, up from the previous $119. Amazon Prime includes fast shipping, access to sales, and free movie/TV streaming in most markets. Amazon is also increasing the monthly cost of Prime in European markets, by 1 pound or 1 euro per month.

The price change announcement came before Amazon was set to post its Q2 earnings results on July 28.

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Europe’s heatwave is a strong warning

When we think of Europe, we mostly think of cold and enjoyable weather, as compared to our scorching heat and humid weather. But in 2022, the European continent is facing one of the worst summers, writes Asad Mirza

The extreme temperatures witnessed in Europe during the last fortnight, are the results of our own making, and maybe this is a wake-up call for the humans to stop playing with nature.

When we think of Europe, we mostly think of cold and enjoyable weather, as compared to our scorching heat and humid weather. But in 2022, the European continent is facing one of the worst summers.

Usually, by Indian standards even the European summers were considered to be much better than our winters, but record-breaking heat affecting parts of Western Europe during the fortnight, with UK temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius for the first time since record-keeping began in 1772, has proved us wrong.

Temperatures dived in many other countries in Europe, with 64 different areas in France experiencing record highs and temperatures in Portugal reaching 47 degrees Celsius.

The dangerously high temperatures have had other additional consequences, too, with Portugal reporting more than 1,000 heat-wave-related deaths in the last fortnight. At least 13 people have died in open water-related incidents in the UK.

People cool off at a fountain in Berlin, capital of Germany. (Xinhua Shan Yuqi IANS)

Extreme heat-wave warnings were issued in France and record July temperatures were reported in the Netherlands. In Paris, the thermometer crossed the 40 degrees Celsius for the third time this summer.

In addition, wildfires continue to sweep across parts of Southwest Europe. As well as increased ozone pollution, the European heat wave is also exacerbating the scale and intensity of wildfires currently raging across southern Europe, especially in south-western France, Spain and Portugal. The worst affected regions to date include the Gironde region south of Bordeaux, Extremadura and Galicia in Spain, and parts of Portugal.

This is also accompanied with the fact that Europe is witnessing more and more floods in the regions where they were unheard of like in Germany and the UK. Experts blame Climate Change for the soaring temperatures across the world, especially Europe, and have warned that worse is yet to come.

Scientific View

The Guardian reported Prof. Richard Allan, of the University of Reading as saying that Climate Change is intensifying these heat waves as greenhouse gas increases raise temperatures and a warmer, more thirsty atmosphere dries out the soil, so that more of the sun’s energy is available to heat the ground rather than evaporating water.

The Politico quoted Mariam Zachariah, climate scientist at Imperial College London, as saying that build-up of CO2 from burning fossil fuels has made heat waves more intense and more frequent across the globe, including in Europe.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned last week that Europe’s heat wave could persist into the middle of next week, whereas the negative impacts of climate change are bound to continue at least until 2060s.

Robert Stefanski, chief of Applied Climate Services at the WMO, at a joint press briefing with the World Health Organisation (WHO), also said that record heat waves are becoming more frequent because of climate change.

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) scientists are predicting very high levels of surface ozone pollution across a large region of Europe as temperatures soar. They also warn about very high levels of ozone pollution in southern Europe caused by the heat wave could now affect north-western regions in the coming week. The prediction comes after extremely high surface ozone pollution was experienced across western and southern Europe, particularly along the west Coast of Portugal and parts of northern Italy.

Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist from the CAMS, says the potential impacts of very high ozone pollution on human health can be considerable both in terms of respiratory and cardio-vascular illness. Higher values can lead to symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, headache and an increased risk of asthma attacks. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition estimates that ozone pollution causes approximately one million additional deaths per year. This is why it is crucial that we monitor surface ozone levels.

Recently BBC has published a revealing report, which highlights how the major culprits responsible for environmental degradation had planned and executed a bold campaign 30 years ago, to spread doubt and persuade the public that Climate Change was not a problem. The tie-up between some of America’s biggest industrial players and a PR genius – forged a devastatingly successful strategy that endured for years, and the consequences of which are all around us.

Firefighters battle a wildfire in Cebreros, Castilla y Leon, Spain, on July 21, 2022. (Junta de Castilla y LeonHandout via Xinhua IANS)

Climate Change and Big Business

The Global Climate Coalition (GCC), which represented the oil, coal, auto, utilities, steel, and rail industries, hired a communications partner to change the narrative on Climate Change. The strategy was implemented through an extensive media campaign, including placing quotes and pitching opinion pieces. The groundwork was laid meticulously for the industry’s biggest campaign to date – opposing international efforts to negotiate emissions reductions in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.

This makes us wonder where we have gone wrong. It is indeed true to say that during the last 100 years humans have wrecked the earth so much that nature is turning back on them.

We hear constant talk of environment planning and tackling Climate Change effects, but find most governments wanting in fulfilling their pledges committed at different environment foras, such as COP26 and other international bodies.

The basic requirement is that we’ll have to change our lifestyles too, to cope with the climate challenges. We’ll have to change the way we are constructing our commercial and residential buildings, all clad in either glass or aluminium cladding requiring more heat intensive mechanisms to maintain cooler temperature. In hotels worldwide it is a normal practice to maintain the building temperature at 17 degrees Celsius, why can’t we make it a more reasonable 21 degrees Celsius? In addition we also need to change our style of construction using a judicious mix of stone, cement and wood, not just relying on one particular product, besides ensuring less usage of wood.

If we humans don’t act now instead of just preaching and making hollow promises then we could just look forward to our own extinction much earlier than envisaged by nature.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs. The views expressed are personal)

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Turkey to freeze Finland, Sweden’s NATO bids

NATO’s 30 member states signed accession protocols for Sweden and Finland in early July, starting the process to admit the two Nordic countries into the military alliance…reports Asian Lite News

Turkey will suspend Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession process if they do not keep promises on counter-terrorism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“I would like to remind you that we will freeze the process if they do not take the necessary steps to meet our terms,” Erdogan added on Monday at a press conference after a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, adding Sweden was “not showing a good image” for now.

“Our stance is very clear. The rest is up to them,” he said.

NATO’s 30 member states signed accession protocols for Sweden and Finland in early July, starting the process to admit the two Nordic countries into the military alliance.

The next step is for the parliaments of all NATO members to ratify their accession to NATO.

Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid was initially blocked by Turkey, which accused them of “supporting” anti-Turkish terrorist groups as they rejected Ankara’s extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

The Gulen movement is led by and named after the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who is regarded by his followers as a spiritual leader. The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the 2016 failed coup in which at least 250 people were killed.

On June 28, Turkey, Sweden and Finland agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) before Ankara lifted its veto ahead of the NATO Madrid summit.

In the MoU, Finland and Sweden pledged to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism, and agreed to address Turkey’s “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly”.

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European Parliament backs green label for gas and nuclear power

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements…reports Asian Lite News

European Union (EU) lawmakers have voted down an objection to labeling gas and nuclear power as sustainable energy sources.

The controversial decision was taken when the deputies, meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, France, voted against a motion to block the proposal by 278 votes in favour, 328 against and 33 abstentions.

If the Council of the EU does not object to the proposal by July 11, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of January 1, 2023, Parliament said in a statement after the vote.

European Commissioner for Financial Stability Mairead McGuinness said during Tuesday’s plenary debate that the taxonomy is a voluntary instrument to guide private investors towards investments that allow the EU to reach its climate goals.

“With this Complementary Delegated Act, we provide clarity around the criteria under which private investments in gas or nuclear, or both, comply with the taxonomy in the transition category,” McGuinness said.

The European Commission has proposed the inclusion of gas and nuclear technology in the EU’s Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act on climate change mitigation and adaptation — a list of economic activities deemed in line with the bloc’s transition to climate neutrality.

As the Commission believes that there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation.

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.

However, the contentious EU proposal sparked claims of “greenwashing” by some EU member states and environmental lobbyists.

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European Parliament clears 2 key digital laws to tame big tech

Very large online platforms and search engines (with 45 million or more monthly users), which present the highest risk, will have to comply with stricter obligations, enforced by the Commission…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant move, the European Parliament on Tuesday approved two major pieces of digital regulation that will set out unprecedented standards on the accountability of online companies within an open and competitive digital market.

The Parliament held the final vote on the new Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA), following an earlier deal reached between Parliament and Council.

The two bills aim to address the societal and economic effects of the tech industry by setting clear standards for how they operate and provide services in the EU, in line with the EU’s fundamental rights and values.

The Digital Services Act was adopted with 539 votes in favour, 54 votes against and 30 abstentions. The Digital Markets Act was adopted with 588 in favour, 11 votes against and 31 abstentions.

“For too long, tech giants have benefited from an absence of rules. The digital world has developed into a Wild West, with the biggest and strongest setting the rules. But there is a new sheriff in town — the DSA,” said Christel Schaldemose, rapporteur for the Digital Services Act.

“Now rules and rights will be strengthened. We are opening up the black box of algorithms so that we can have a proper look at the moneymaking machines behind these social platforms,” he added.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) sets clear obligations for digital service providers, such as social media or marketplaces, to tackle the spread of illegal content, online disinformation and other societal risks.

Very large online platforms and search engines (with 45 million or more monthly users), which present the highest risk, will have to comply with stricter obligations, enforced by the Commission.

They will also have to facilitate access to their data and algorithms to authorities and vetted researchers.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) sets obligations for large online platforms acting as “gatekeepers” (platforms whose dominant online position make them hard for consumers to avoid) on the digital market to ensure a fairer business environment and more services for consumers.

“We no longer accept the ‘survival of the financially strongest’. The purpose of the digital single market is that Europe gets the best companies and not just the biggest. We need proper supervision to make sure that the regulatory dialogue works,” said Andreas Schwab, rapporteur for the DMA.

Once formally adopted by the Council in July (DMA) and September (DSA), both acts will be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after publication, said the commission.

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NATO’s BIG SHIFT

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for the first time in its history recognised China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies” as a threat to the alliance’s interests…reports Asian Lite News

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) on Wednesday for the first time in its history recognised China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies” as a threat to the alliance’s interests, security and values in a sign of the rapid shift in European geopolitical attitudes.

While remaining open to engaging with China, Nato also said that all allies will work together to address the “systemic challenges” posed by China to Euro-Atlantic security, boost shared awareness, enhance resilience and preparedness, and protect against China’s “coercive tactics and efforts to divide the alliance”.

The much-anticipated strategic concept, the first since 2010, was released during a historic Nato summit in Madrid that saw the participation of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Korea.

Long dismissed as a relic of the Cold War, and torn by divisions between the US and Europe in recent years, Nato, under President Joe Biden’s presidency, has assumed a central role in supporting Ukraine and building a united front against Russian aggression. In the process, the gap between the US and Europe on China – accused repeatedly of supporting Moscow – has also been partially bridged.

Defining the alliance’s three core tasks as “deterrence and defence”, “crisis prevention and management”, and cooperative security”, the strategic concept’s main focus is on Russia — an immediate security challenge for European member states of Nato.

The document says that Euro-Atlantic area is not at peace, holds Russia responsible for the violation of norms that kept European security order stable, and factors in the possibility of an attack on a Nato member’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Strategic competition, pervasive instability and recurrent shocks define our broader security environment,” it said.

The concept then moves on to authoritarian actors, saying that they challenge “our interests, values and democratic way of life”.

They are investing in sophisticated conventional, nuclear and missile capabilities; seek to “exploit the openness, interconnectedness and digitisation of our nations”; interfere in democratic processes and institutions; conduct “malicious activities in cyberspace and space”; and promote “disinformation campaigns, instrumentalise migration, manipulate energy supplies and employ economic coercion,” it added. These actors also undermine multilateral norms and institutions and promote authoritarian models of governance, it further claimed.

While the Nato framed Russia as posing the “most significant and direct threat” to the security of allies, and said the alliance will continue to Russian threats in a “united and responsible” manner, the big departure in the document is on China.

Nato’s strategic concept states that China employs a broad range of political, economic and military tools to increase its global footprint, “while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions and military build-up”.

It says that China’s “malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation” target Nato allies and harm its security, and warns against China’s quest to “control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, and strategic materials and supply chains”.

The concept also accuses China of using its “economic leverage” to create strategic dependencies and enhance its influence; of striving to “subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains”.

In the backdrop of the February 4 joint statement between Russia and China, pledging a no limits friendship, Nato also noted the deepened strategic partnership between the two countries and what it called their “mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order” as counter to Nato’s values and interests.

Nato has said it remained open to “constructive engagement” with China, but will work to guarantee the defence and security of allies.

China protests Nato’s move

China is fiercely protesting attempts by Nato to define it as a “systemic challenge.”

As its strategic rivalry with the US intensifies, China would find its room to maneuver severely constrained if Europe assumes a stance of clear opposition.

On Tuesday, Beijing made use of numerous diplomatic channels to denounce the moves by Nato.

“China and Europe are partners rather than competitors, let alone systemic rivals,” State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying. “China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, and develop new systems for a higher-standard open economy,” he added.

Noting that “some differences between the two sides also affect the sound development of China-EU relations from time to time,” he stressed that “the EU should form a more objective and correct perception of China’s development direction.” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said Beijing “pays close attention to NATO strategic adjustment,” and is “deeply concerned about the policy implications of its so-called ‘Strategic Concept.’”

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