'Cold War mentality': China responds to NATO accusations saying Beijing is 'enabler' of Russian war

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HONG KONG and LONDON — A Chinese official rejected on Thursday an accusation from NATO members, who said that Beijing has become a “decisive enabler” of Russia‘s war in Ukraine.

A spokesperson for China‘s Mission to the European Union said a declaration issued on Wednesday by NATO members was “filled with Cold War mentality and belligerent rhetoric.”

“We never provide lethal weapons to either party of the conflict, and exercise strict export control on dual-use goods including civilian drones,” the spokesperson said in published remarks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, July 3, 2024.

Sergey Guneyev/AP

NATO members, who are in Washington for a summit, had included the accusations against China as part of a wide-ranging declaration. The document said China’s international ambitions and efforts “continue to challenge our interests, security and values.”

The declaration also included direct references to what NATO members described as China’s “deepening strategic partnership” with Russia.

That relationship, which NATO said was “mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut and reshape the rules-based international order,” was a cause “for profound concern,” the 32-member alliance wrote in the declaration published Wednesday.

NATO leaders pose for an official photo at the NATO summit in Washington, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Mark Schiefelbein/AP

“The PRC has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called ‘no limits’ partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defence industrial base,” the declaration said, using an acronym for the People’s Republic of China. “This increases the threat Russia poses to its neighbours and to Euro-Atlantic security.”

NATO members said China supplied Russia with dual-use materials, including components used for building weapons. China also supplied equipment and raw materials that “serve as inputs for Russia’s defence sector,” the declaration said.

“The PRC cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation,” the declaration said.

A rainbow fills the sky behind the White House right after U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden greeted NATO allies and partners ahead of a dinner at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2024.

Ken Cedeno/Reuters

China, using language similar to its previous statements, characterized its trade with Russia as “normal.” The spokesperson said the NATO declaration included “obvious lies and smears,” which China was “firmly” rejecting.

“The normal trade flows between China and Russia does not target any third party, nor should it be subject to disruption or coercion,” the Chinese spokesperson said.

ABC News’ Will Gretsky contributed to this report.