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China vows to oppose ‘wanton expansion’ of military alliances

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (L), and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands after holding a joint media briefing on January 31, 2023, in Tokyo. (Photo via AP)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has vowed that his country will stand against the “wanton expansion” of military alliances, amid reports on the US-led NATO’s plan to open a liaison office in the Asia-Pacific.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Yi said his country would “oppose the wanton expansion of military alliances and the squeezing of the security space of other countries.”

He added that China would seek to “resolve differences and disputes among countries through dialogue and consultation”, without naming the nations in question in either case.

His remarks come as Nikkei newspaper said in June that NATO plans to set up a liaison office in Japan’s Tokyo by 2024.

The proposal was supposed to be adopted during NATO’s July summit in Lithuania, but the daily later reported that the bloc will work to finalize the decision by the year-end, amid France’s opposition to the idea.

China has warned that any attempts to establish a NATO-like military alliance in the Asia-Pacific would plunge the region into “a whirlpool of conflicts.”

Observers have also been warning that the US-led alliance was no longer confined to its traditional military missions, and was aggressively expanding its footprints in the Asia-Pacific region as a means of besieging China.

The plan comes while NATO’s eastward expansion towards Russia’s borders was partly blamed for the war in Ukraine.

Wang made the remarks as he unveiled a broad program laying out China’s foreign policy goals for the coming years.

“Building a global community of shared future is the way forward for all the world’s peoples,” the policy paper, published by China’s Xinhua news agency, read.

“However, it is not a goal to be accomplished overnight, and there will be no plain sailing,” it said, adding “We need to make unremitting efforts and forge ahead with perseverance.”

The paper, which “draws a new blueprint for a better world”, also referred to the war in Ukraine, and reiterated a multi-point position paper released by China earlier this year that calls for a “political settlement” to the conflict.

“Conflicts and wars produce no winner,” the new paper reads while adding that “there is no simple solution to a complex issue”.

Western allies of Kiev have warned the Chinese proposal could enable Russia to retain much of the territory it has captured in Ukraine.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Wang declined to confirm whether China’s President Xi Jinping would travel to the United States for a meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden on the sidelines of an APEC summit in November.

“Regarding your question about the arrangements for attending APEC, we are in communication with all parties and will make an official announcement in due course,” he told reporters.

Earlier this month, Xi shunned a meeting with Biden when he didn’t attend the G20 summit in India.

The last time the two presidents met was on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Indonesia in November.

Beijing’s relationship with Washington stands at its lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two governments due to persisting differences ranging from trade and technology to regional security and territorial disputes.

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