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3 Aug, 2023 22:30

China warns Japan against backing NATO expansion

Allowing the US-led bloc into the global East is to let “the wolf into the sheepfold,” Beijing’s envoy to Russia says
China warns Japan against backing NATO expansion

Japan and other countries should learn some “history lessons” and not become proponents of NATO expansion into the region, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui has said.

The diplomat made the remarks in an exclusive interview with TASS published on Thursday, reiterating Beijing’s repeated warnings about the dangers of bringing the US-led bloc into the East and Asia-Pacific, in particular.

“We advise Japan and other courtiers to learn the lessons of history in full: They should not, without taking the stance of other nations into consideration, unilaterally undermine peace and stability in the region, they should not become the proponents of NATO’s expansion into the East. Like they say: Let the wolf into the sheepfold, it will take a bite on every sheep,” the ambassador said.

Earlier this year, NATO considered opening a liaison office in Japan, which would have become the first facility of the bloc in the region. While Tokyo indicated it was considering the idea, France has reportedly shot down the project around President Macron's recent visit to China, insisting NATO should remain confined to the North Atlantic instead.

The potential move has prompted firm opposition from China, with Beijing pledging to show a “resolute response” should the US-led bloc try and move closer to its borders. Back in July, China promised to “safeguard its sovereignty” and oppose “NATO’s eastward expansion into the Asia-Pacific,” warning that “any actions that damage China’s legitimate rights and interests will be met with a resolute response.”

The liaison office in Japan idea apparently ended up shelved for now, with multiple media reports suggesting the bloc will consider establishing a foothold in Tokyo this fall or even later.