China slams NATO, warns of ‘confrontation and crisis’
The world will continue to be beset by wars and geopolitical turmoil as long as NATO keeps behaving as if it’s still fighting the Cold War and the Iron Curtain never fell, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“Clinging to the Cold War mentality leads to antagonism and confrontation,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a briefing in Beijing. “The end of the Cold War more than three decades ago doesn’t mean the end to the zero-sum thinking and the Cold War mentality. The Berlin Wall was torn down, yet the fence of ideology and prejudices based on values still stand.”
Wang made his comments as Beijing marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Earlier on Friday, the ministry released a 12-point plan for bringing an end to the fighting – a roadmap that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg dismissed as lacking in “credibility” because China has maintained its close ties with Russia.
Wang noted that NATO, which was formed in 1949 to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, continues to exist over three decades after the USSR’s collapse. The Western military bloc “even constantly seeks to reach beyond its traditional defense zone and scope and stoke tensions and create troubles in the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
If such Cold War mentality lingers on and goes unchecked, confrontation and crisis will be what the future holds in store for us all.”
China has maintained neutrality over the Ukraine crisis despite intense pressure from the US and its NATO allies to condemn Russia. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen threatened on Thursday that Beijing would face “serious consequences” if it helps Russia evade Washington’s sanctions or provides aid to Moscow.
“We will certainly continue to make clear to the Chinese government and the companies and banks in their jurisdiction about what the rules are regarding our sanctions and the serious consequences they would face for violating them,” Yellen said at the G20 summit in New Delhi.
Wang accused Washington of applying a double standard, insisting on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty even as the US wantonly violates the sovereignty of other nations. He also chided America’s ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, for brushing off a Chinese report on US hegemony as “crude propaganda and unworthy of a great power.” Wang said that “we would like to say to the US ambassador that strong-arm and coercive diplomacy is what is truly unworthy of a great power.”