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During a summit on Monday in Brussels, the 30 NATO allies expressed concern over the nation’s expanding military presence and its “coercive policies”. Responding to the comments, a spokesperson for the Chinese Mission to the European Union accused the military alliance of slander and called on NATO to be more rational.
The Chinese spokesperson said: “We will follow very closely NATO's strategic adjustment and its policy adjustment towards China.
“China will not present 'systemic challenges' to anyone, but we will not sit by and do nothing if 'systemic challenges' come closer to us.”
The spokesperson also urged the alliance to stop “hyping up in any forum the so-called 'China threat'.”
Just days before the NATO summit, G7 leaders proposed plans to provide infrastructure financing as a democratic alternative to China’s belt and road initiative.
China issues warning to NATO over 'slander'
A NATO summit on Monday claimed Beijing posed 'systemic challenges'
The Chinese mega-project adopted by Beijing in 2013 is considered the centrepiece of Xi Jinping’s foreign strategy and looks to expand the country’s economic and political influence in more than 70 countries.
The aim of the G7 plan is to accelerate green economic growth by providing financing for projects such as railways in Africa and wind farms in Asia.
Although the G7 has yet to confirm the budget for the project, experts have estimated China’s belt and road initiative will cost $8 trillion.
Following the G7 summit, US President Joe Biden said a committee would be formed to launch the infrastructure financing plan.
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Leaders discussed China during the G7 summit
Xi Jinping political profile
On Sunday, Mr Biden said: “You are going to see just straightforward dealing with China.
“As I told Xi Jinping myself, we are not looking for conflict.
“Where we cooperate, we will cooperate. Where we disagree, I am going to state it frankly and we are going to respond to actions that are inconsistent.”
The spokesperson continued: “NATO is slandering China's peaceful development and misjudging the international situation and its own role.
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China warns NATO allies over 'systemic challnges'
“It represents a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics”.
Critics of Beijing have noted the nation’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal and its increased military cooperation with Russia.
The spokesperson added that China’s military budget is “defensive in nature”.
China’s total military expenditure is around £148.4bn but is a fraction of the total sum of NATO’s allies which comes to around £795.3bn.