NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said on Saturday that China is “watching closely” whether Russia succeeds in Ukraine or not.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that China is closely monitoring Russia’s progress in Ukraine, where the outcome of Europe’s war is likely to have far-reaching consequences for Beijing’s behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Beijing is watching closely what’s happening in Ukraine. And if Putin wins there, of course that will affect their decisions about how to behave in Asia,” Stoltenberg told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

“What happens in Europe, in Ukraine, is important for Asia, and what happens in Asia is important for Europe,” he said at the Munich Security Conference.


Speaking ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoltenberg said NATO does not see China as an “imminent” threat.

However, he noted that the military coalition is intensifying its cooperation with allies within the region, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“We don’t see China as an enemy or an imminent threat. But we do see China’s rise, China’s growing economic and military power, as a challenge to our security, our interests or our values.”

He added, “Security is not regional. Security is global.”

Chinese spy balloons ‘part of a pattern’

The comments come as concerns grow over China’s growing military presence around Taiwan. They also follow the discovery of a series of Chinese balloons above US airspace, prompting Washington to accuse Beijing of espionage.

Stoltenberg said the balloons were part of a pattern of surveillance tactics used by China to gather intelligence on NATO allies.

“The reality is that this is part of a pattern we’ve seen, where China has increased its intelligence activities over many years, using many different platforms such as cyber satellites and other types of platforms to spy on and to gather intelligence from NATO – allied countries, both in North America, but also in Europe,” he added.

See the full CNBC interview with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg