Amid growing friction, China has called on the NATO military alliance to avoid attempts to start a new Cold War, describing its expansion to the Asian-Pacific region as dangerous.
In his remarks on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin slammed the NATO leaders for their provocative remarks and said the US-led alliance was a product of the Cold War.
"We are calling on NATO to end drawing ideological lines, spreading false reports or making provocative statements about China, and to stop attempts to unleash a new cold war," Wang told reporters.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said that since the NATO summit in Madrid will address China in a new strategic concept, he welcomes leaders of the alliance’s Asia-Pacific partners - Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea - to the summit.
He called on the NATO members to “realize the rise of China”, adding that he expects that "allies will state that China poses some challenges to our values, our interests, and our security."
Wenbin criticized Stoltenberg’s remarks, describing the military alliance "a tool through which the US maintains its hegemony and manipulates the European security landscape".
He said while NATO was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization originally, it has so far "reached the Asian-Pacific region to show its force".
"These moves are very dangerous and would certainly provoke caution and resolute opposition from Asia-Pacific countries and the entire world," Wenbin asserted.
"NATO has already messed up Europe," so it should abstain from "attempts to mess up Asia and the rest of the world as well," he added.
China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday warned against “expanding military alliances”, calling on countries around the world to overcome difficulties together and work toward win-win cooperation.
Speaking in a virtual format at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, Xi said “group politics”, “bloc confrontation” and military alliances will lead only to “wars and conflicts”, urging the international community to oppose hegemonic practices in a veiled criticism of the US-led NATO military alliance.
“In the past century, humanity has gone through the scourge of two world wars and the dark shadow of the Cold War. The tragedies of the past tell us that hegemony, group politics and bloc confrontation bring no peace or security; they only lead to wars and conflicts,” Xi said.
In an apparent reference to the United States, Xi, whose country is also reeling under sanctions by Washington, said the policy had a boomerang function and brings its repercussions.
China has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions, including those against Russia, while blaming the Ukraine crisis on NATO’s eastward expansion.
Beijing has also vowed to continue its strategic coordination with Moscow, which has been under mounting Western pressure since it launched the military operation in Ukraine four months ago.