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NATO Chief Says Trade Ties with Authoritarian Regimes Have Vulnerabilities; Clubs China with Russia

FILE PHOTO: Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

He also said NATO is committed to continue supporting Ukraine but ruled out its direct involvement in the war by sending NATO troops there

Asserting that freedom is more important than free trade, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said the Ukraine war has taught the world that having economic dependencies on authoritarian regimes have huge vulnerabilities and listed China as an example of authoritarian government. He also said NATO is committed to continue supporting Ukraine but ruled out its direct involvement in the war by sending NATO troops there.

”We have provided our support to Ukraine since 2014, which has been stepped up now. We will continue to support, but we will not be directly involved in the war by sending NATO troops there. This is not to provoke, but to ensure that every ally is protected,” he said. Addressing the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 here, Stoltenberg said the Ukraine war has taught us that having economic dependencies on authoritarian regimes can have huge vulnerabilities which we have seen in form of energy crisis.

”While this is about Russia, China is another authoritarian regime,” he said. ”We have to face the realities. Freedom is more important than free trade and protecting values is more important too,” he noted.

He further said trading with China has huge benefits, but when it comes to the 5G network, it involves security concerns and that cannot be ignored. ”Russian president Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe. Since Russia’s invasion, we have significantly stepped up our support. NATO’s main responsibility is to protect its allies and stop this war from escalating,” he said.

At NATO, we collected intelligence and made public our information about Russia’s plans to attack Ukraine, he said. ”Since the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, NATO has been keeping an eye. When Russia invaded Ukraine again this year, we stepped up our support. We also have 100,000 troops on high alert to respond for any attack on NATO territory,” he added.

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first published:May 24, 2022, 16:23 IST