China Pushes Back as NATO Calls It an “Enabler of Russia’s War Against Ukraine”


Welcome to this week’s Intelligence Brief… recently, NATO issued a rare statement of disapproval against China, prompting a response from Beijing amid increasing international tensions in Europe and other parts of the world. In our analysis this week, we’ll be looking at 1) China’s response to NATO’s recent rebuke, 2) Russia’s plans to conduct military countermeasures following a joint announcement by the U.S. and Germany this week, and 3) the dynamics that are increasingly convincing more experts that China is a key player in Russia’s efforts, as well as 4) what many call the 21st-century Cold War.

Quote of the Week 

“The PRC has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called ‘no limits’ partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defence industrial base. This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security.” 

– Summit declaration by the Heads of State and Government at the North Atlantic Council meeting in Washington, D.C., 10 July 2024

Latest News: In recent articles at The Debrief, the first successful test firing of a new engine that will power both hypersonic and in-space flight was announced this week by Ursa Major. Elsewhere, the James Webb Space Telescope has helped identify what astronomers are calling one of the most promising habitable zone exoplanet candidates ever discovered. You’ll find links to all of our recent stories at the end of this week’s newsletter. 

Podcasts: In podcasts this week, over on The Micah Hanks Program I look at the potential intersections between artificial intelligence and unidentified anomalous phenomena. Meanwhile, as The Debrief Weekly Report takes a brief summer vacation, you can catch up on past episodes over on The Debrief’s Podcasts Page.

Video News: Premiering this week on Rebelliously Curious, Chrissy Newton will be joined by Michael Raduga, Founder of REMspace, to discuss how he and researchers from the startup REMspace are testing technology that allows people to control devices in their ‘smart home’ while in a lucid dreaming state. Be sure to check out other great content from The Debrief on our official YouTube Channel.

With that all behind us, it’s time we shift our focus toward the rising tensions between NATO and China and what this means in the broader geopolitical context of what many already characterize as a new Cold War.

China Pushes Back After NATO Statement

Earlier today, China leveled accusations against NATO that the organization was prioritizing its security above other nations amidst rising tensions over ties between Ukraine and Asian countries with the Western intergovernmental military alliance.

The accusations followed a NATO statement that characterized China as an enabler of the current war being waged against Ukraine by Russia, which was condemned by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lin Jian, during a briefing on Thursday.

Lin Jian
Lin Jian, deputy director of China’s Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (CC. 30).

“NATO hyping up China’s responsibility on the Ukraine issue is unreasonable,” Jian said today, adding his belief that the organization “has sinister motives.”

China has already received pushback from Western nations for its support of Russia and refusal to condemn the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which China does not characterize as unlawful. The uncharacteristic rebuke from NATO signals the potential for renewed pressure against China to limit its exportation to Russia.

Missiles and Military Countermeasures

China’s accusations came amidst reports that Russia is allegedly preparing military countermeasures following news that the United States planned to deploy long-range missiles to Germany.

“The United States will begin episodic deployments of the long-range fires capabilities of its Multi-Domain Task Force in Germany in 2026, as part of planning for the enduring stationing of these capabilities in the future,” read a joint statement issued by the U.S. and Germany on Wednesday.

SM-6 missile
SM-6 missile launch (Public Domain)

“When fully developed, these conventional long-range fire units will include SM-6, Tomahawk, and developmental hypersonic weapons, which have significantly longer range than current land-based fires in Europe,” the statement read. “Exercising these advanced capabilities will demonstrate the United States’ commitment to NATO and its contributions to European integrated deterrence.”

Following Wednesday’s statement, Russian Deputy Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov said Moscow is planning a response.

“Without nerves, without emotions, we will develop a military response… to this new game,” said Ryabkov in a statement provided to the Russian news agency Interfax this week.

A 21st-Century Cold War

This week’s developments are starkly similar to events from decades ago when competitive missile deployments by the U.S. and Soviet Union often complicated international tensions for America’s ally nations in Europe. Additionally, the increased economic ties seen in recent months between China and Russia further complicate matters by offsetting the impact of sanctions imposed against Russia since the onset of the Ukraine conflict.

With China having been labeled by NATO as an “enabler” of the war in Ukraine this week, an already tense situation has become even more volatile as Beijing continues to assert concerns over NATO expansion, in alignment with similar concerns expressed by Russia over NATO’s growth in recent years.

“China urges NATO to stop interfering in China’s internal politics and smearing China’s image, and not create chaos in the Asia-Pacific after creating turmoil in Europe,” Lin said this week.

Despite China’s accusations, several nations have strengthened their ties with NATO, including Indo-Pacific nations like Australia, Japan, and South Korea, all of which recently participated in NATO’s annual summit. Meanwhile, similar to Russia’s posturing following Wednesday’s joint announcement between the U.S. and Germany, China has said it is conducting what is recognized as its first joint drills in Belarus, a key ally of Russia.

Winning Over the Skeptics

The alliance between the countries underscores the emerging multipolarity of 21st-century global politics. With their expanding geopolitical collaborations, Russia increasingly depends on its neighbors in China for economic support, particularly regarding energy trade.

Speaking with The New York Times this week, Institute for National Defense and Security Research policy expert Liou Shiau-shyang called NATO’s statement  “a very rare move,” adding that the alliance seldom ever would openly accuse China of “massively supporting Russia’s defense industrial base.”

Shiau-shyang, whose policy focus involves China and Russia and whose organization is a Taiwan-based government-funded research group, added, “Clearly, the United States has won over some skeptics who did not see China as a key player in the Russia-Ukraine war.”

That concludes this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief. You can read past editions of The Intelligence Brief at our website, or if you found this installment online, don’t forget to subscribe and get future email editions from us here. Also, if you have a tip or other information you’d like to send along directly to me, you can email me at micah [@] thedebrief [dot] org, or Tweet at me @MicahHanks.

Here are the top stories we’re covering right now…