NATO leaders have blasted China as a “decisive enabler” of Russia after Beijing accused the security alliance of stoking instability in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s “so-called ‘no limits’ partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defense industrial base” is enabling Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, NATO leaders said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The 32-member alliance, which is marking its 75th anniversary this year, is holding a summit in Washington, D.C., at a time of conflict and potential conflicts, including Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and Chinese pressure campaigns against Taiwan and U.S. allies the Philippines and Japan.

Echoing past statements from the U.S. and others, the NATO statement said China is complicit in Russia’s war against Ukraine, citing the flow of Chinese-made dual-use materials, weapons components, and drones deployed by Russian forces.

NATO Leaders Pose For Photo During Summit
Heads of state pose for a group photo during the NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on July 9 in Washington, D.C. China has accused the security alliance of inciting “confrontation…


Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

NATO called on China to “uphold the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter” and end its “material and political support to Russia’s war effort.”

Beijing has denied it is arming either side of the conflict and maintains it is a neutral party as it calls for a negotiated peace settlement.

China, which declared a “no limits” partnership with Russia shortly before Moscow launched its war in 2022, has refused to condemn Russia for its invasion or label it as such. Government censors vigilantly scrub anti-war criticism of Moscow from Chinese social media.

“The PRC (People’s Republic of China) cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation,” the statement said, using China’s official name.

NATO and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to written requests for comment.

The NATO leaders expressed concern over China’s rapid expansion and modernization of its nuclear weapons stockpile, activities in outer space, and “malicious cyber and hybrid activities, including disinformation.”

The leaders of Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand are attending the summit as observers for the third straight year, while Australia has sent its deputy prime minister.

NATO’s increasing engagement with its four Asia-Pacific partners has riled China, which has criticized the alliance as a Cold War relic expanding beyond its mandate as a regional alliance.

China opposes NATO “inserting itself into the Asia-Pacific to incite confrontation and rivalry, and disrupting the prosperity and stability in this region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said during Wednesday’s regular press conference. He called on the transatlantic alliance to make a “real contribution” to global peace and security.