NATO seeks militarization of Asia-Pacific – Moscow
While Asia-Pacific nations remain divided on security, NATO is actively working to cement its position in the region, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
“NATO no longer says that it’s a purely defensive alliance,” the diplomat pointed out, speaking on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Sunday.
Since the end of the Cold War, the US-led military bloc has moved its “defensive line” closer to Russia’s borders on several occasions, Lavrov said. At the Madrid summit this summer, the alliance announced “that they have global responsibility and that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific is indivisible,” he added.
“In fact, they are now claiming that they’ll play a leading role [in the Asia-Pacific region] and are already shifting the so-called defensive line to the South China Sea,” the minister pointed out.
Washington and its allies have been trying to militarize the region, Lavrov said, offering a reminder of the AUKUS defense pact, which was signed between the US, UK and Australia last year. Attempts are currently being made to incorporate New Zealand, Japan and Canada into this bloc, he added.
Those actions are “obviously aimed at containing China and resisting Russia’s interests in the Asia-Pacific,” the minister said.
“There is no consensus in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) on how to proceed in the security sphere in this region. So, if the goal of the Americans was to sow doubt among ASEAN members and try to undermine their unified position, then they’ve achieved it,” Lavrov concluded.
According to the foreign minister, he has “frankly” outlined those concerns, which are also shared by China, to the participants in the East Asia Summit.