NATO Parliamentary Assembly


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086 PC 11 E - Draft Report by Assen AGOV (Bulgaria), General Rapporteur

(Until this document has been approved by the Political Committee, it represents only the views of the Rapporteur)










1.       In the last 30 years the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has risen to become a major regional and global power.  China has the world's largest population, second largest economy, and it has become the world’s largest consumer of energy.  The PRC also has the third largest nuclear arsenal and numerically largest army.  Parallel to its dramatic economic progress China has begun to pursue a more active foreign policy; it increasingly participates in global political and security debates, many of which impact directly and indirectly on NATO security concerns.   China ’s rise has therefore numerous implications for the Alliance, yet to date the organisation has paid only little attention to the issue.  This report briefly examines China ’s Foreign and Security Policy as well as issues of common concern for China and NATO.  It suggests that the Alliance and NATO should engage in more regular contacts which should primarily be geared towards providing increased institutional transparency and information.  Given the fact that both sides share a range of common security concerns, China and NATO could explore opportunities for gradual, limited policy co-ordination, possibly also together with other NATO partners.  The autumn report will build on the findings of the planned visit of the Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships to China and put forward some concrete proposals for a gradual engagement between both sides in areas of common interest.    



2.        China ’s evolving role in international affairs is largely determined by the complex and continuing change that is occurring within the country.  China is a nation in transition.  On the one hand, as the world’s fastest growing major economy, China has considerable economic clout.  On the other, GDP per capita remains far behind that of the world’s other major economies.  China is still a developing country by many measures, yet owing to the vast size of its national GDP and its phenomenal rate of economic growth, it is already a global power in some areas Internally, China still advocates socialism but in reality has strong capitalist characteristics.  While the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) retains its monopoly on power and maintains strict control over the people, it is facing growing demands for internal reform from various elements of Chinese society.  Within the CCP itself, the leadership transition in 2012 and competing factions further complicate matters.  The world is now watching an increasingly complex, partially contradictory China; outwardly confident and powerful and at times perceived as assertive, but also an inwardly confused country that needs to address its internal challenges.

3.       Evidence of China ’s growing economic and financial clout is easy to identify. Since 2006, nominal GDP has more than doubled to $4,909 billion in 2009 making China the world’s second largest national economy with 12.56% of the world’s GDP. According to official Chinese figures, China ’s GDP has grown by 10.3 percent in 2010.  Chinese GDP per capita has increased sevenfold since 1978 and has now reached $7,518. China is the leading exporter of the world; its trade surplus was $196.1 billion in 2009 and $183 billion in 2010, the highest in the world, as are its inward Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and foreign exchange reserves.   China ’s sovereign wealth funds are also the highest in the world, at an estimated $825 billion as of September 2010. China is now a key source of capital and FDI in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and has proven adept at acquiring access to these regions’ natural resources.  At the end of 2010, China ’s estimated currency reserves added up to $2.8 trillion. China is also the world’s most important lending nation.  For example, the US Treasury Department reported on 28 February that China held $1.16 trillion of US debt at the end of 2010.  China has also bought government bonds from Greece, Spain and Portugal.  However, while the PRC plays an increasingly important and positive role for the world economy there are also frictions.  China, which resisted calls to devalue the Renminbi, has been accused of manipulating the exchange rate to boost its exports.  Other indicators, such as high technological development and carbon dioxide emissions (1st) confirm China ’s position as a global industrial powerhouse.

4.        As impressive as these economic and financial indicators are, these statistics must be seen in context.   There is still a large gap between it and the largest economy of the world, the United States.  Moreover, as China ’s economy relies heavily on exports, the country is vulnerable to global economic trends.  Although China 's double-digit economic growth over the past two decades has benefited large parts of the population there are huge economic and social disparities across urban, rural and regional divides.  These put a heavy burden on the country’s cohesion and Chinese express concern about increasing food costs, unaffordable housing, as well as high costs for health and education.  The CCP remains heavily reliant on continued economic growth to retain popular approval and appears sensitive to the complaints.  Accordingly, the Chinese government’s new five year plan (2011-2015) foresees lower annual GDP growth and puts more emphasises on income balance.  Recognising that corruption remains a major challenge, the government has announced to strengthen anti-corruption efforts in key areas such as construction, sale of land use right. 

5.        China  ’s economic clout has allowed it to feature more prominently in international affairs.  At the international institutional level, China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power.  Beijing is also playing a more prominent role in the UN and has strengthened its commitment to UN peacekeeping operations, primarily in Africa, but also in Haiti and LebanonChina enjoys growing influence in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the G20 and the G77, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional security institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).  Moreover, at the 2010 Copenhagen Summit, China emerged as a crucial global player due to its high carbon dioxide emissions.  On the other hand, China continues to maintain close relations with nations like Burma and North Korea and has also been criticised for its involvement with undemocratic African regimes.  China also has relatively good relations with Iran and there has been some concern that China has assisted countries like Iran and Pakistan to develop their nuclear programmes.  China has sold and exchanged for oil its weapons with Iran, including potentially strategically significant Silkworm anti-ship missiles.        

6.        China  has also increasing “soft power”.  While the PRC remains a foreign aid recipient country it has moved towards being an important donor country.  According to a 2009 report by the US Congressional Research Service, China ’s aid to Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia increased from less than one billion dollars in 2002 to an estimated 25 billion dollars in 2007.  A major part of the PRC’s infrastructure and public works projects in African and Latin American countries focus on natural resource development and serve China ’s long-term economic interests.  The picture is slightly different in South-East Asia, where China ’s foreign aid activities reflect longer-term diplomatic and strategic objectives. 

7.       The PRC is also much more engaged in other parts of the world, including in AfricaChina has provided “no strings” investment to Zimbabwe and Sudan, and has signed large contracts to help develop the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Ethiopia in return for access to resources, a key tenet of the ‘Beijing Consensus’.   On the one hand, Chinese aid and investment in infrastructure are bringing desperately needed capital to the continent. On the other, however, strong Chinese demand for oil is contributing to an increase in the import bill for many oil-importing Sub-Saharan African countries, and China ’s exports threaten local African production.  Therefore, whilst benefiting the continent in many ways, China poses a challenge to both good governance and macroeconomic management in Africa as well.



8.       In its foreign policy, China focuses on furthering domestic economic development through international cooperation and on promoting peace and stability by cultivating ties with other nations on an equal basis.  China has repeatedly and publicly committed itself to “the path of peaceful development” which Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo defined in a recent article as “the pursuit of harmony and development at home as well as the pursuit of peace and cooperation in our external relations”. In December 2010 Mr. Bingguo outlined China ’s “core interests” as:

“The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the socialist system, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics”;

“The sovereignty and security, territorial integrity, and national unity of China ”;

and “The sustained development of the economy and society of China.”

9.       Mr. Bingguo also warned that “the violation and destruction of these interests will not be tolerated.” Chinese leaders have recognised that the next 10 years represent an “important period of strategic opportunity” during which the country must “ceaselessly increase China ’s comprehensive national power, improve (its) people’s lives, and promote social harmony.”  The CCP also realises that“never before has China been so closely bound up with the rest of the world as it is today”, and that China now has expanding influence and reach. 

10.     Parallel to its growing international influence the PRC is also rapidly expanding its military capabilities.  The collective Chinese defensive and offensive military forces form the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which includes strategic missile, land, sea and air forces.  Total active force strength in 2010 was 2,285,000, 1.6 million of which were army personnel, making the PLA the largest army in the world.  Reservists and paramilitary forces take total numbers under arms in China to over 3 million, a key fact in understanding China ’s internal dynamics.  Moreover, China is a nuclear weapon state under the 1970 Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a signatory of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  2010 estimates put Chinese nuclear missile stocks at 442, of which 66 are long range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).   The PLA, and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in particular, have enjoyed significant investment in military hardware and technology since the mid-1980s.  As a result, China is gradually closing the gap in military technology with the West as the recent unveiling of the new J-20 stealth combat aircraft has demonstrated.  All branches of the PLA are being modernised and Beijing is gradually building up military power projection capabilities.  Although hard to determine exactly, Chinese defence expenditure has risen steadily during the last decade, and in March 2010 Beijing  announced a 7.5% increase in its military budget to approximately $78.6 billion.  As the 1989 EU/US arms embargo remains in force, China ’s state owned and defence-related industries continue to modernise and gain expertise in military research, development and acquisition to facilitate its goal of creating a wholly indigenous defence industrial sector.      

11.      The PLA’s Air Force capabilities have been strengthened by new combat aircraft like the multi-role Sukhoi 30 and the introduction of in-flight refuelling tanker and AWACS aircraft.  Moreover, the PRC is also developing anti-satellite and cyber-war capabilities.  Beijing is also pursuing the modernisation of the PLAN into a “blue water” navy.  In this context it is developing a new generation of warships and aircraft to give it much longer-range capabilities.  The main rationale for this emphasis is, apart from the possibility of a military conflict with Taiwan, the increasing need to protect the PRC’s sea lines of communications to secure the country’s global network of energy resources and trading activities.  The PLA Army have also been modernised and has become smaller and more capable with improved mobility and firepower.  That said, despite the introduction of new weapons systems into its inventory, the major part of its equipment is still obsolete in terms of technology and design.  Overall, the ongoing modernisation of all branches of the PLA’s has generated considerable uneasiness among its immediate neighbours and has led to increased defence investments in other Asian states. 

12.     China ’s continued rise has meant that its pursuit of its ‘core interests’ have begun to be felt both regionally and globally.  Much uncertainty surrounds China  ’s intentions for using its growing military power, but there are some discernible strategic consistencies in China ’s conceptualisation of its use of force.  These are related to the defence of a continental power with increasing maritime interests and unresolved territorial claims and include, in order of priority; regime security, territorial integrity, national unification, maritime security and regional stability.  China ’s developing force structure for internal control, peripheral denial and limited force projection capabilities are consistent with meeting these objectives.  However, some commentators have argued that there is a growing divergence between stated Chinese foreign policy and the reality of Chinese actions on the international stage since 2008.   

13.     China has territorial disputes with a number of neighbouring countries and its increased confidence and assertiveness has strained China ’s relationships with regional neighbours, especially Japan, in the last year.  Continuing disputes with Taiwan over its ultimate sovereignty (the PRC claims the entire island as its sovereign territory) and with Vietnam and Taiwan over the Spratly and Paracel island have been heightened by China ’s demonstration of its growing military power.  This is evident in the recent responses of Tokyo, Taipei, Hanoi and Washington to the increasing size and capability of the PLAN, especially in relation to the strategically important Malacca Straits.  In September 2010 the collision between Japanese Coast Guard vessels and a Chinese fishing trawler re-ignited concerns about the increasing territorial expansion of Chinese “core interests.”  China rapidly escalated pressure on Japan to release the Chinese trawler captain, an action that many analysts saw as disproportionate and indicative of a new assertive Chinese foreign policy.  It also forced the US to clarify its support for Japan, demonstrating the complexity and instability of Sino-US relations, which were further strained by disagreements over how to address North Korea during 2010.

14.      In contrast, Sino - Russian relations have continued to improve in many areas, especially in the energy sector over the last two decades. In September 2010, President Medvedev visited Beijing for high level talks on advancing bi-lateral ties as the Chinese ambassador to Moscow declared that relations between the neighbours were “now at their best in history.”  In November, both countries agreed to quit the dollar to facilitate bi-lateral trade, and signed various documents on energy co-operation, aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communiqué.  Reflecting this closer co-operation and mutual interest, a new oil pipeline between Siberia and North-Eastern China opened in January 2011.Diplomatically, mutually supportive joint statements calling for a “multi-polar order” reflect both nations’ understanding that they speak more powerfully when they speak together.  In the past, both countries have also used parallel vetoes in the UN Security Council to block censure of Burma and Iran.  However, political differences still exist in the Russia-Sino relationship over wider economic and defence issues.

15.      For over a decade, Russian military exports to China have constituted the most important dimension of the evolving relationship between these nations.  According to one estimate, between 1992 and 2006, the total value of Russian arms exports to China amounted to approximately $26 billion worth of military equipment and weapons. However, as the indigenous Chinese defence industry becomes increasingly capable, Russia faces the prospect of declining sales or of supplying more advanced weapon systems to China, such as ballistic missiles, with possible implications for wider Asian security. China and Russia also operate officer and unit exchange programmes and military exercises together.  Previously, both Beijing and Moscow have been critical of US and NATO ballistic missile defence plans in Central Europe.  The two powers share mutual interests in space, having called on the UNSC to tackle the militarisation of space.  However, Russia has been reluctant to aid China ’s space defence system due to its own security concerns about doing so.



16.      Contacts between China  and the Alliance are a relatively recent development.  NATO-China relations were non-existent during the Cold War and during most of the 1990s.  The accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the 1999 Kosovo air campaign was sharply criticised by senior Chinese officials and led to strong nationalistic public outbursts against one NATO ally and the Alliance as a whole. 

17.     In the timely context of NATO’s developing engagement in Afghanistan, China began to show interest in the commitments of the Alliance closer to its borders.  In 2002 the Chinese Ambassador met with then NATO Secretary General to inquire about NATO’s structures and tasks as well as its engagements, particularly in Afghanistan.  Since then, NATO and China have gradually developed a political dialogue, focusing on the exchange of information and on issues of co-operative security.  Following the visit of the Director General of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to NATO Headquarters in 2007, the political dialogue on senior staff level has developed on a rather regular basis.  The NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy has visited China twice, the last dating back to July 2010.

18.      The political dialogue was further strengthened with the visit of Deputy NATO Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero to China  in November 2009.  The exchanges with senior Chinese officials, including Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, covered a wide range of issues relating to shared security interests of NATO and China.  Among the topics that were discussed were the stability of Afghanistan and Central Asia, the fight against terrorism and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as well as maritime piracy.  As a result of the political exchanges between senior NATO and Chinese officials there is agreement that the NATO-China dialogue has a role in contributing to international stability and prosperity.  Both sides share the general view that NATO and China should work towards developing a relationship in a spirit of open communication and increasing cooperation. 

19.      Contacts between NATO and China  have gradually developed on the political level.  NATO has not established a formal partnership with China and the political dialogue that ensued has been conducted in full transparency, also with regard to NATO’s existing formal partnerships.  Chinese representatives have also participated in a limited number of NATO seminars and conferences. 

20.     In contrast to the political exchanges that have been going on for several years, there have been no military-to-military contacts between China and NATO.  However, in June 2010 a delegation of senior military officials of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) visited NATO headquarters.  This first visit ever by a Chinese military delegation to NATO may, over time, offer an opportunity to build military-to-military relations which would enhance confidence building between China and the Alliance.

21.      In the view of your Rapporteur it would be desirable to deepen the fledgling dialogue between NATO and China  .  China can play a crucially important constructive role for regional and global security.  China and NATO have common interests which include, among others, the following: 



22.     China and NATO have common interests, particularly the security and stability of Afghanistan which has a common border with China.  NATO Allies value the political support which China has given to the Alliance ’s engagement in Afghanistan, through its constructive role in the UNSC and in other ways.  Moreover, Chinese political and economic involvement in Afghanistan appears to be growing.  In 2009 China allocated $75 million in economic aid to Afghanistan, bringing its total to almost $1 billion. In March 2010, during President Karzai’s visit to China, Chinese officials called for increased international support for Afghanistan and pledged China ’s commitment to continuing investment in the country.   Various bilateral agreements on expanding economic co-operation, ensuring favourable tariffs on Afghan exports and creating economic training scholarships across a range of fields were signed at this time.

23.     China is particularly interested in investing in the mining and energy sectors in Afghanistan.   A $3.4 billion deal was signed in November 2007 for the China Metallurgical Group to develop the Anyak copper mine and related infrastructure south of Kabul.   Although frequently stalled by problems related to the security situation, the deal represents the largest investment in the history of Afghanistan.   China is also in the running to develop the iron ore mines at Hajijak, in Bamiyan province.   Such investment is in keeping with wider Chinese economic strategy, as displayed in Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East.   Indeed, some commentators see China ’s vision of Afghanistan as simply “a secure conduit for roads and energy pipelines that will bring natural resources from the Indian Ocean and elsewhere” into China.

24.     China has also made some limited contributions to training Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) through a mine-clearing course it runs for Afghan officers in Nanjing.   In March 2010, military ties were strengthened whenDefence Minister Liang Guanglie, following meetings with his Afghan counterpart, Adbul Rahim Wardak, pledged that the “Chinese military will continue assistance to the Afghan National Army (ANA) to improve their capacity of safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic stability.”   There is also evidence that China is developing border access routes to Afghanistan in the Wakhjir Pass to facilitate possible increased Chinese involvement.   However, while deployment of Chinese police forces to Afghanistan remains possible, future PLA involvement is less so.

25.      The PRC also enjoys a close and mutually beneficial relationship with Afghanistan ’s neighbour PakistanChina has long provided Pakistan with major military, technical, and economic assistance, including the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology and equipment.  Collaboration now includes personnel training, joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism efforts.   Pakistan has also benefited from Chinese assistance in developing defence capabilities such as short and medium range ballistic missiles, jet aircraft and advanced early warning radar.  

26.      However, Pakistan is a fragile state and questions can be asked about China ’s motives in supplying weapons and technology when what the country arguably needs is development aid.   Some observers, especially those in India, suggest that the Sino-Pakistani relationship is underpinned by similar geo-political goals, specifically the containment of India They see this Chinese support for Pakistan as a ‘key aspect of Beijing ’s perceived policy of “encirclement”, or constraint, of India as a means of preventing or delaying New Delhi ’s ability to challenge Beijing ’s region-wide influence.’  Lingering mutual distrust between India and China over border dispute clashes in 1962 contributes to such views, as does the fact that China is helping Pakistan develop a deep-sea port at the naval base at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. The port would allow China to secure oil and gas supplies from the Persian Gulf and project power into the Indian Ocean.



27.      NATO and China are both interested in the stability of Central Asia.  As NATO, China is concerned about the security challenges in the region, including the risk of political instability, the challenge posed by Islamist terrorist groups, and illicit trafficking of drugs.  Moreover, Chinese interest in the region also stems from its desire to quell any prospects of ethnic unrest its Western Xinjiang province.  As Central Asia is increasingly important for China as energy provider and as a energy transport corridor China is strengthening its ties with the Central Asian states to its west which have traditionally close relations with RussiaChina ’s involvement with the Central Asian states is primarily through developing economic and trade ties.  Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have benefited from Chinese investments in trade infrastructure, energy pipelines, railroads and highways.  China ’s drive for energy security has led it to acquire two new pipelines, the first between China and foreign countries, to supply it with large volumes of gas from Turkmenistan and oil from Kazakhstan.  Trade between China and the five Central Asian countries topped US$ 25.9 billion in 2009, up from US$ 527 million in 1992, and China has recently opened Confucius Institutes to teach Mandarin in capitals across Central Asia.  Though they remain limited, China is also developing military ties in the area, having conducted war games in Kazakhstan in September 2010 as part of annual exercises that traditionally include several Central Asian members of the SCO.  Of particular interest to NATO are the potential implications of Chinese influence in Kyrgyzstan for the transit of troops and supplies into Afghanistan and the continuing unrest in the country. 



28.      As the world’s second largest trading nation China  is, as NATO, very interested in the freedom and security of the sea lanes and in combating maritime piracy.  China ’s contribution to the counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia is also highly welcome.  As NATO, the PLAN has been contributing to the international counter piracy effort since 2008, escorting convoys through the Gulf of Aden.  NATO’s presence off the Horn of Africa has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector.  NATO’s current mission, Operation Ocean Shield, also involves working with international bodies to help develop the capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.  Operation Ocean Shield has been extended to December 2012. 

29.      China‘s approach to the Middle East is primarily based on economic and energy realities.   As a consequence, the Sino-Gulf relationship has been strengthening dramatically.  The PRC, the second largest energy importer, is importing most of its oil from the Middle East.  Chinese demand for oil is growing and predicted to continue, and China is now the largest importer of Saudi oil. 



30.      China and NATO member states share other common concerns, such as challenges like the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery.  While the PRC has previously been active in WMD-related technology transfer to countries like Pakistan, Iran and North Korea Bejing has shown more concern about limiting the spread of WMD in the recent past.  As far as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is concerned, Beijing ’s relations with Pyongyang have traditionally been described as being as close as “lips and teeth”.   The PRC is the DPRK’s closest diplomatic ally, largest provider of food, fuel, and industrial machinery, and arguably the country most able to wield influence in Pyongyang.   However, since the 1990’s the existence of the DPRK’s nuclear programme has strained Beijing - Pyongyang relations.  China declared itself “resolutely opposed” to both North Korean nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Chinese officials say they fear that a nuclear-armed North Korea could inspire South Korea, Japan, and even Taiwan to acquire nuclear weapons, making China ’s Asian neighbourhood a dramatically more dangerous place.  China also hosts the Six-Party Talks (involving the United States, China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and Russia ) over North Korea ’s nuclear programme.  

31.     China has actively used diplomacy to try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.   In 2003, it helped bring the DPRK to the Six Party negotiating table and has supported UN Resolutions condemning North Korea ’s nuclear tests. Recently, US-Sino approaches to North Korea have diverged in the face of an increasingly belligerent DPRK.   While most of the international community have favoured a sanctions approach, China has shielded North Korea from the fall out from the November 2010 revelation it had built a sophisticated uranium enrichment facility, and its shelling of South Korea ’s Yellow Sea island of Yeonpyeong the same month.   Neither did it comment on the North Korean sinking of a South Korean Navy ship in March 2010.   However, although ultimately unsuccessful, China has also used its political leverage with the DPRK to get Pyonyang to begin unconditional negotiations with Seoul in January 2011.

32.      In the Middle East, although China seeks to curb Iranian nuclear weapons capability, Chinese officials have been reluctant to impose sanctions on Iran, preferring a diplomatic approach.   However, in response to international pressure, Beijing has curtailed certain arms sales to Iran and supported UNSC efforts to encourage Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.   On the other hand, many experts suspect China supplies Pakistan with nuclear technology and assistance, including the blueprint for Pakistan 's nuclear bomb.   This is of special significance as Pakistan is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation , Treaty (NPT) and is now estimated to have the 5th largest supply of nuclear warheads in the world.   China has also recently built 2 nuclear power reactors in the Punjab and is contracted to build at least 2 more.



33.     China is becoming an increasingly influential international actor whose activities and interests already impact a number of areas which are relevant for the security interests of NATO and its member states.  China and NATO member states share a broad range of common concerns, including challenges like the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, failed and failing states, terrorism, and organised crime.  Both sides have also a shared interest in containing, and ideally in preventing, regional conflicts as these can quickly spin out of control and escalate into violence on a much wider scale.

34.      China can play a crucially important constructive role for regional and global security.  There is potential for closer co-operation between China and NATO.  This may for the time being not entail entering into a formal partnership.  However, given the host of common security concerns the Alliance and NATO should engage in more regular contacts which should primarily be geared towards providing increased institutional transparency and information.  China and NATO could explore opportunities for gradual, limited policy co-ordination, possibly also together with other NATO partners.  Moreover, NATO and China could consider engaging in practical co-operation in specific areas.  For example, NATO could consider inviting Chinese participation in exercises organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).  Moreover, NATO and China, as well as NATO partner countries, could improve information sharing in anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and possibly also hold joint anti-piracy exercises.  More generally, China and NATO could consider initiating military-to-military exchanges on a regular basis.  In the view of your rapporteur it would be highly desirable to deepen the fledgling dialogue between NATO and China The Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships plans to visit China in September this year and will inquire with senior officials about China ’s interest in further developing the contacts with the Alliance The autumn report will build on the findings of the planned visit of the Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships to China and put forward some concrete proposals for a gradual engagement between both sides in areas of common interest.