NATO and China: Addressing new challenges


By Meia Nouwens


As NATO gears up to define its new strategic concept for the first time since 2009, greater attention is being paid to how NATO defines and will seek to address new challenges to the alliance in the 21st Century. The challenges posed by China, and its political, economic, and military assertiveness, officially entered leaders’ discussions in 2019. Agreeing on what the China challenge to NATO signifies was the first challenge, while the next step will be for allies to agree on how to address it in its various forms, most of which are new territory for the alliance. This policy brief aims to present the challenges China poses to NATO at home and to its partners abroad, and propose ways in which NATO could leverage the alliance to ensure collective future resilience and security for allies and partners. However, the brief contends that without greater collective agreement between allies, NATO’s ability to be a meaningful partner to countries in the Indo-Pacific region could be hampered.