NATO risking dependence on China instead of Russia: Deputy chief
NATO is growing more dependent on China, the alliance's deputy secretary-general asserted, after NATO completely abandoned Russian oil in the wake of the Ukraine war.
NATO member states risk replacing the dependency on Russian natural resources with dependency on China in terms of critical supply chains, Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said on Tuesday.
"We should be aware of the fact that we risk now to replace one dependency on Russian natural resources with another dependency on China on many critical supply chains," Geoana told a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council.
The deputy secretary-general underscored that NATO members should be very careful and pay special attention in order not to create any dependencies on China in the national security area.
According to the second-in-command, the NATO member states in Eastern Europe need to be more proactive in reaching out to their Western allies, including the United States, in a bid to ensure that they are included in ongoing restoring efforts.
This comes after the European Union completely phased out the import of Russian energy in light of the Ukraine war as a means of punishing Russia.
European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said in November 2022 that the European Union would have a harder time going through the next year if the bloc completely stops importing Russian gas, whereas a gas price cap will not reduce costs for households.
Meanwhile, it was reported in April that the geopolitical near-crisis tensions in South Caucasus between oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan and Armenia could extend their damage to Europe and the EU's attempts to find alternatives to Russian fossil fuels.
Earlier, the EU and Azerbaijan reached a deal to double Europe's gas imports from Baku to 20 billion cubic meters by 2027, but the agreement is on rocky grounds.
A senior EU official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Politico that Europe was disappointed that its peace mission was not successful.
Europe has been hoping that while Russia is busy with the war in Ukraine, Brussels could establish a stronger presence in the South Caucasus region and develop economic and diplomatic ties with Azerbaijan, while providing Yerevan with political support to try and balance relations between the two.
Europe still hopes to be able to broker a solution between the two parties, according to Tom de Waal, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank.
But if the initiative collapses, Waal warned of possible calls from Western countries to sanction Baku - a scenario which might exponentially increase the risk of the bloc's alternative source of Russia's fossil fuel.
In the meantime, the main concern is the NATO becoming too dependent on Chinese energy as an alternative to Russian energy after the collapse of trade between Moscow and Brussels.