image caption: Gurmukh Singh

Why China is Seen as a Challenge by NATO NATO Security interests and Western values

Due to recent global events, this column has shifted focus to those events from a Sikh British perspective. One aim of News and Views column is to inform and educate ourselves about what goes on in Sikh diaspora countries to the extent that our lives and future are affected.

One reason for the long-standing Anglo-Sikh association is that Sikhs share certain British values derived from what are loosely called Western values. These are fundamental political ideologies of the free world centred around a plural society, fair play and the rule of law. Today, global confrontation between Western democracies and the Russian-Chinese block is reminiscent of the pre-World War II situation. We look into the reasons why China is increasingly in the news

The UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, who is also one of the two candidates for the post of UK Prime Minister, feels that the West had been too slow to challenge China and Russia because Western leaders prioritised free trade. That the United Nations and World Trade Organisation have been too open to authoritarian regimes and not challenged their behaviour. About China, she would like the G7 group of leading democracies to be turned into an economic NATO that can defend itself better against Chinese influence around the world. China, with a dismal human rights record has been distorting the rules of fair competition and free trade for decades.

At its Madrid meeting on 29 June, 2022, for the first time NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) formally took note of the challenges that Beijing []]China] poses toward the security, interests and values of NATO countries.

In this context we need to understands the term geopolitics. According to one source, this is a power game which is at play when countries including politicians, organisations and corporations assess how they can influence or gain advantage or control over other countries. The NATO recognition of Chinese challenge is not unexpected due to the global geopolitical advantage China has gained over the decades. It has used military might to make territorial gains against neighbouring countries. It has demonstrated a concerted imperialist policy towards its developing neighbour states.

It has bent fair competition trade rules and used its vast resource of cheap labour to gain international trade advantage. The trade term dumping which is illegal, is rarely heard these days. Dumping is selling goods at lower than their production cost to beat competition and close industries in Western countries where workers are paid much higher fair wages. In one sense, paying very low wages to own workers or even using child and bonded labour to produce and export goods and services is a form of dumping.

China has gained a significant foothold in many countries, including Western countries, through bilateral trade agreements and by funding large projects. Chinese migration to these countries has increased. Skilled Chinese workers arrive in large numbers as well as students. This process of Chinese encroachment has also been noticeable in some Western countries like Australia.

Therefore, NATO countries have come to the conclusion that China poses a threat to the security, interests and values of NATO countries. In this context, NATO values means Western values. This NATO change of strategy regarding China has taken place while the Russian-Ukraine war rages on.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant Retd