The 2022 Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) wrapped up here on Thursday amid mounting criticisms of the military alliance's increasingly aggressive and destabilizing security policies unveiled at the meeting.
Twenty-two NATO members on Thursday agreed to launch the NATO Innovation Fund, a multi-sovereign venture capital fund that will invest 1 billion euros (1.05 billion US dollars) in startups and other venture capital funds developing emerging technologies for both civilian and military use.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the fund's signing ceremony that it would help transform NATO's security environment and strengthen its innovation ecosystem.
The fund's launch is the latest in a long list of provocative security policies adopted at the two-day NATO meeting.
NATO leaders on Wednesday agreed to strengthen the alliance's forward defenses, enhance the bloc's battlegroups on its eastern flank and increase the number of high readiness forces to over 300,000.
On the same day, they approved the military bloc's new strategic concept, which calls Russia the "most significant and direct threat" to NATO's security and unjustly accuses China of posing "systemic challenges."
NATO also invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance on Wednesday.
In an explicit move to meddle in the regional affairs of the Asia-Pacific, NATO invited the leaders of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand to attend its summit for the first time.
The four Asia-Pacific countries held a four-way meeting on the sidelines of the NATO Summit to discuss strengthening ties with the alliance.
The United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea also held a trilateral meeting on the sidelines to discuss issues related to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
While Stoltenberg insisted that the NATO meeting was focused on "transforming and strengthening" the alliance for the security of its members, analysts and officials from non-NATO countries have said that NATO is inciting bloc confrontation with an outdated Cold War mentality.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Thursday condemned NATO's new strategic concept, saying the document distorts facts, smears China's foreign policy, makes irresponsible remarks on China's normal military development and national defense policy, encourages confrontation and conflicts, and is full of Cold War mentality and ideological bias.
Zhao added that NATO claims to be a regional and defensive organisation, but in fact, it has been transgressing regions and fields, constantly waging wars and killing civilians, and now NATO has extended its reach to the Asia-Pacific region in an attempt to export the Cold War mentality.
Gilbert Achcar, a professor of development studies and international relations with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, told Xinhua on Thursday that NATO's new strategic concept shows the alliance is "going far beyond the area of NATO into the Asia-Pacific."
"NATO has always been used by the United States as a tool to perpetuate its hegemony," Achcar added. "The United States is trying to push Europe to take part in its own policies, including in East Asia. " Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Madrid, the United States and many other European countries this week to protest against the alliance and call for peace.