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14 Mar, 2023 12:13

West setting Asia up for years of conflict – Russia

Pushing blocs like AUKUS and NATO into the region will cause confrontation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned
West setting Asia up for years of conflict – Russia

The West’s expansion of its military presence in Asia risks causing a prolonged conflict because people in the region will not accept the move, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

By pushing “bloc structures, such as AUKUS and NATO infrastructure into Asia,” Western leaders are making “a serious bid for a confrontation lasting for many, long years,” he told a gathering in Moscow on Tuesday.

“I cannot imagine the great Asian civilizations toeing the line the way the EU unfortunately did, and obediently delivering Washington’s agenda,” Lavrov explained.

AUKUS – a military alliance comprising the UK, US and Australia – was touted as a mechanism to counter China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region when it was founded in 2021.

Beijing this week reiterated its criticism of AUKUS and Canberra’s plan to procure US-made nuclear-propelled submarines, citing the risk of nuclear proliferation posed by the technology used in the boats.

Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the US of trying to build an “Indo-Pacific NATO” and stir tensions between Beijing and New Delhi. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin previously denied having such plans. Last year, the US-led military bloc invited the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand to attend its key summit in Madrid, Spain.

Tensions between the US and China have been rising for years, with Taiwan, a self-administered island, becoming the focus of conflict. Senior US officials have been making regular visits to Taipei against Beijing’s wishes. The administration of President Joe Biden approved sales of advanced weapons to thew island, claiming it needed to protect itself from a possible Chinese attack.

Chinese President Xi Jinping asserted last week that Washington was trying to impose “all-round containment, encirclement and suppression” of his nation.

Lavrov, who was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the International Russophile Movement, said Moscow was not in the habit of ordering other nations around – unlike Western countries.

The new organization, which the foreign minister welcomed on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was proposed by Bulgarian politician Nikolay Malinov, whose sympathies towards the country are well known. In 2019, Putin presented him the Order of Friendship, a Russian honor recognizing foreign nationals for achievements in fostering international cooperation.