NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that Western nations must be mindful to not create new dependencies on China.
“We see growing Chinese efforts to control our critical infrastructure, supply chains and key industrial sectors,” he said on a visit to Spain.
“We cannot give authoritarian regimes any chance to exploit our vulnerabilities and undermine us.”
Stoltenberg’s remarks come as western nations began to grasp the consequences of a trade dependency on Russia after weaning themselves off Moscow’s energy supply.
Europe Split on China
Trade with China has been a heavily debated topic among European leaders, who met last month to establish a united front against dependence on Beijing.
“I think with China it’s the same as with Russia. It is in their interest that we are divided. It’s in our interest that we are united,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said at the meeting.
More recently Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Sholz visited Xi Jinping in Beijing to discuss trade, after China was allowed last month to buy a minority stake in a terminal in Hamburg, Germany’s largest port.
- Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon