NATO is reassessing its situation with regards to China, a top American envoy to the powerful military grouping has said, asserting that Beijing is on its radar more than ever in the past.
China can be a peaceful partner but it is not projecting that at the moment, Kay Bailey Hutchison, US Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), told reporters at a virtual meeting here.
"China could be a peaceful partner, a good trade partner, but they're not showing that right now, and I think NATO partners are looking at this, and NATO is beginning to assess what China is doing as well," she said.
"It's much more on our radar screen, and I think it should be because we should assess the risk, hope for the best but prepare for the worst," Hutchison said on the aggressive behaviour and provocative actions of China against Taiwan, Japan and India.
On whether a risk of an actual military confrontation was on the horizon, she said, "I think NATO is now looking to the East."
Everything that has been happening with the 5G networks is being dealt with in the US and Europe throughout the alliance, Hutchison said.
"We're trying to keep our communications secure and seeing that some of the Chinese competitors do not have the capability to control the contractual obligations that are made by communications providers all of those things, including the Belt and Road Initiative, are raising concerns, concerns among our allies, about what is the intent of China," she said.
The United States is very clear that it wants China to be a partner in the world order and it is known that China has stolen intellectual property, violated tariff and subsidies set down by the world courts and the World Trade Organization, Hutchison said.
"So we know that China has the capability to compete on a level playing field, and we're asking them to do that, but we're also turning a wary eye to their behaviour right now in the South China Sea, militarising islands that they said would never be done, as well as the clampdown on Hong Kong," she said.