Perhaps the greatest challenge NATO will face in the coming decades is how we must all adjust to the rise of the People’s Republic of China. And adjust we must. For determining how to meet the challenge of Chinese 5G technology, meet the challenge of the easy money offered by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is a challenge European allies must contend with every day.
Whether we like it or not, the implications of China’s rise will profoundly affect the choices NATO members will face, individually and collectively.
China’s expanding influence will necessarily demand more of America’s attention and resources. And as we meet that challenge, our European allies must do more to maintain the strength and deterrence of our transatlantic alliance with their resources.
Toward that end, we are grateful that NATO members are opening their own diplomatic dialogues with like-minded Indo-Pacific countries like Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Korea. And we welcome recent steps by NATO partners, France and Great Britain, to increase freedom-of-navigation and overflight operations in the Indo-Pacific.
By working together, we can maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific where independent nations boldly pursue their own interests; respect their neighbors as equals; and where societies, beliefs, and traditions flourish side by side; and where all their citizens are able to exercise their God-given liberties and pursue their dreams.
– Remarks by Vice President Pence at NATO Engages: The Alliance at 70
A report released on Tuesday by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence warned of the risks of allied nations using Chinese technology, particularly telecommunications company Huawei and its 5G technology.
“The growth of Chinese technology companies has made them a global market power. This is largely a product of focused government industrial policy and funding instruments. Chinese companies are not only subsidized by the Chinese government but also legally compelled to work with its intelligence services,” the report reads. “Whether the risk of such collaboration is real or perceived, the fear remains that adopting 5G technology from Huawei would introduce a reliance on equipment which can be controlled by the Chinese intelligence services and the military in both peacetime and crisis.”
“China is set to become the subject of the 21st century on both sides of the Atlantic,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. “China is a challenge on almost every topic. It is important to gain a better understanding of what that implies for NATO.”
“The U.S. is very, very concerned about what’s happening in the Pacific,” Barry Posen, a professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent NATO critic, told a forum of Western defense officials in Washington on Wednesday. “It defies the imagination that the U.S. still has to provide such a tremendous weight of resources needed to secure [Europe].”
“China paralyzes decision-making in Europe,” Techau said. “We should be making the kind of investments China has been making. But we’re not rich enough anymore to keep China out of our market.”
Six retired US military leaders have issued a statement calling on America’s allies to ban Chinese technology giants from outfitting their 5G networks, citing “grave concerns” over security.
The statement, released Wednesday, was signed by six highly-respected, retired US military officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe James Stavridis.
“As military leaders who have commanded US and allied troops around the world, we have grave concerns about a future where a Chinese-developed 5G network is widely adopted among our allies and partners,” the statement began.