The Arctic cooperation between Russia and China, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, poses a strategic threat to the alliance’s principles and objectives. The 30-nation alliance faces a strategic challenge as a result of Russia’s capacity to obstruct Allied reinforcements across the North Atlantic, according to Stoltenberg.
The NATO chief wrote in an article published in Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, “Russia has significantly increased its military activity in recent years, setting up a new Arctic Command, opening hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites, including airfields and deep-water ports, and using the region as test-bed for novel weapon system.”
According to Stoltenberg, China is also enlarging its influence in the area and has declared itself a “near-Arctic state” with plans to build a “Polar Silk Road” through the Arctic to connect it to Europe. Beijing and Moscow promised to step up their practical Arctic cooperation earlier this year as part of a growing strategic partnership that challenges our values and interests, according to the article from the NATO Secretary General.
Sweden, Finland joining NATO would improve alliance’s position: Stoltenberg
In addition, Stoltenberg said that Sweden and Finland joining NATO would significantly improve the alliance’s position in the far North. The official participation of Helsinki and Stockholm in NATO’s strategic planning and the potential use of their territories for the deployment of strike weapons would alter the security landscape in the Baltic region and the Arctic, according to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and would necessitate a rethinking of strategies for defending Russian territory.
In June, the leaders of NATO agreed to a broad strategic framework for the next decade that focusses on Russia’s “direct threat” and declares China a security challenge for the first time. The alliance, which had appeared to be faltering in recent years, pledged a renewed and revamped approach to its defence and deterrence capabilities during the “transformative” summit in Madrid, moving to strengthen its forces along the bloc’s eastern flank.
NATO also formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, which share maritime and land borders with Russia, respectively. NATO members also pledged to continue their support for Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, to come to the aid of other members in the event of an attack, and to establish a collective process to maintain a “technological edge” in an increasingly complex global environment.