(Brussels) NATO on Wednesday denounced China’s “increasing alignment” with Russia and its support for the Russian economy, which allows Moscow to offset the consequences of Western sanctions.

“We discussed China’s increasing alignment with Russia, its support for the Russian economy and the intensification of their joint military activities in the Indo-Pacific region,” explained the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers with their counterparts from Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“All of this is very concerning,” he said.

The leaders of the four partner countries in the Indo-Pacific region have been invited to attend the NATO summit held in July in Vilnius, Lithuania, he announced.

“We are monitoring what China is doing very closely and any lethal aid delivery to Russia would be a monumental mistake with grave consequences,” he reiterated.

Jens Stoltenberg declined to specify what those “serious consequences” would be. But he recalled that China refused to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and reached a “limitless” partnership agreement with Moscow.

“Trade with China has become even more important for Russia, because of the economic sanctions” imposed to prevent the Kremlin from financing the war effort against Ukraine, underlined the head of NATO.

“China is not an adversary, but at the Madrid summit in June 2022, the allies found its increasingly aggressive behavior to be a challenge to their interests, their securities and their values,” Jens Stoltenberg recalled. .

This makes it necessary to strengthen partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, he stressed.

“At a time when Beijing and Moscow oppose the rules-based international order, it is all the more important that we continue to stand together as NATO allies and with partners like-minded,” he said.

The reminder of their position by the 31 members of the Alliance comes on the first day of a state visit to China by French President Emmanuel Macron aimed at renewing face-to-face dialogue with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell is due to go to Beijing on April 13 and 14 to prepare for an EU-China summit organized in Beijing on a date to be fixed between President Xi Jinping and the presidents of the two European institutions.