Sept. 21 (UPI) -- NATO must embrace countries beyond Europe to expand its influence in light of China's growing military power, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
"The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power," Stoltenberg told the virtual conference of the Center for European Policy Analysis. "China does not hesitate to use its economic and diplomatic weight to intimidate trading partners and private companies."
"Using NATO more politically is valuable to send a clear and unified political message, because together NATO allies represent half the world's economic and military might. What we say matters," he added.
He noted that although the 30-nation military bloc has a global approach, current challenges require additional cohesiveness, and emphasized the importance of working closely with "like-minded partners" to defend NATO's values.
Stoltenberg also warned that military threats prior to the COVID-19 pandemic have not been reduced, and mentioned that maintaining NATO's strength, strengthening the group politically and using a global approach are necessary to achieve its "NATO 2030" agenda.