China urges NATO not to create chaos in Asia, rejects label of ‘facilitator’ of Russo-Ukrainian war

China urges NATO not to create chaos in Asia, rejects label of ‘facilitator’ of Russo-Ukrainian war

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday accused NATO of seeking security at the expense of others and urged the alliance not to bring the same “chaos” to Asia, reflecting its determination to oppose closer ties between NATO members and Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

The statement by a Foreign Ministry spokesman came a day after NATO labels China a “decisive facilitator” of Russia’s War Against Ukraine.

“NATO’s exaggeration of China’s responsibility in the Ukrainian issue is unreasonable and has sinister motives,” spokesperson Lin Jian said at a daily press briefing. He said China’s position on the Ukrainian issue is fair and objective.

China has broken with the United States and its European allies over the war in Ukraine, refusing to condemn the Russian invasion or even call it an act of aggression out of deference to Moscow. Its trade with Russia has increased since the invasion, at least partly offsetting the impact of Western sanctions.

NATO, in a statement released at a summit in Washington, said China had become a facilitator of the war through its “Unlimited partnership” with Russia and its large-scale support for Russia’s defense industrial base.

Lin said trade between China and Russia is legitimate and reasonable and based on the rules of the World Trade Organization.

According to him, NATO’s “so-called security” comes at the expense of the security of other countries. China has supported Russia’s thesis that NATO’s expansion poses a threat to Russia, whose attack on Ukraine has only strengthened the alliance, leading Sweden and Finland to become official members.

China is concerned about NATO’s budding relations with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea sent their leaders or deputies to the NATO summit this week.

“China urges NATO to… stop interfering in China’s domestic politics and tarnishing China’s image, and not to create chaos in the Asia-Pacific region after creating turmoil in Europe,” Lin said.

Chinese troops are in Belarus this week to articulation exercises near the border with NATO member Poland. The exercises are the first with Russia’s ally Belarus, with which it shares a one-party system under President Alexander Lukashenkowhose regime brutally repressed Mass protests against his regime in 2020,

Lin described the joint training as a normal military operation that is not directed against any particular country.

China is a key player in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes a significant military element involving Russia and several Central Asian countries, India and, more recently, Belarus.

This is seen as a form of bulwark against Western influence in the region, but also as a source of tension over China’s growing influence in what Russia considers its political backyard, made up of former parts of the Soviet Union, including Belarus.

Earlier this month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a meeting of Leaders or senior officials of the ten SCO member states met in Kazakhstan, where Putin reiterated his demand that Ukraine withdraw its troops from the Russian-occupied regions of the country. Ukraine has strongly rejected this demand, as well as a Chinese peace proposal that makes no mention of returning Ukrainian territory to the Kiev government.

China and Russia have closely aligned their foreign policies to oppose the West, even as Russia increasingly relies on China as a buyer of its oil and gas, which make up the bulk of its foreign trade.