NATO, the world's most powerful military alliance, has declared China as a security threat for the first time, warning that Beijings ambitions and coercive behaviour is a major challenge to the groups interests, putting its forces on a potential war-footing against Russia, media reports said.
NATO's new 10-year strategic blueprint, agreed to by leaders at a summit in Spain on Thursday morning (AEST), called out the rising Asian power for conducting "malicious" cyber operations, for its strategic partnership with Russia, rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal and its efforts to dominate key supply chains, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
China reacted to being labelled a threat by calling the Western alliance a "Cold War remnant" and a source of instability that is "smearing" Beijing's international reputation.
Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, at the summit as part of the �Asia Pacific 4' group of guests, said the Western world needs to reassert its democratic values.
He dismissed China's criticism of NATO and declared the summit "extremely successful", Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"What we've seen is the world come together in rejecting the Russian aggression on Ukraine, and also having a reassertion of our shared values of having a rules-based international order," Albanese said before leaving for Paris.
"We need to reassert our democratic values and that is something that has occurred at this NATO summit."
The 30-member alliance agreed to formally treat Russia as the "most significant and direct threat to the allies' security", condemning its "brutal and unlawful invasion" of Ukraine as having "gravely altered" Europe's security environment.