No peace possible where NATO extends ‘diabolical paws’ – Chinese envoy
NATO expansion in Europe has eroded the continent’s security and was the key reason for the Ukraine conflict, Zhang Hanhui, China’s ambassador to Moscow, said in an interview released on Thursday.
Speaking to the TASS news agency, Zhang stated that the US-led military bloc had been “fanning the flames everywhere, destroying stability and engaging in separatism,” with turmoil in Kosovo, Libya, and Afghanistan being prime examples.
“The five [NATO] expansions to the east seriously affected the post-Cold War order and security in Europe and became the main reason for the escalation in the Ukraine crisis,” he said.
The envoy went on to describe NATO “as a relic of the Cold War” which should have ceased to exist when it ended.
However, it continues to thrive, sustaining itself by constantly instigating warfare and conflicts… Wherever NATO stretches its diabolical paws, people will die and there will be no peace.
Zhang stated that in recent years the alliance had set its sights on expansion in the Asia-Pacific under the guise of helping countries exercise their right to collective defense, a strategy that he said “causes great concern and strong objections from the regional countries.”
He claimed that NATO “has long turned into a geopolitical tool of the US”, and that the bloc’s expansion to the east and into the Asia-Pacific, “is meant to support American hegemony.” Washington, according to Zhang, wants NATO to have more clout in the Asia-Pacific so that it “could suppress and deter China and Russia.”
“The Cold War mentality and confrontation between the camps have long run counter to the demands of modern times,” he added, saying that NATO’s regional expansion “will only increase regional tensions, widen the trust gap… provoke a stand-off between different camps and even a new Cold War.”
Moscow has for many years viewed NATO’s creeping expansion as a threat to its national security while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the bloc was one of the key reasons for the military campaign in the neighboring country.
Kiev formally outlined its NATO ambitions several years ago and applied to join the bloc last autumn after four of its regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums. However, the alliance has been reluctant to approve the application or set a timetable for Ukraine’s accession, citing the ongoing hostilities.