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25 Sep, 2023 15:20

NATO looking to expand into Asia – Russian MP

The US will try to “drag” Japan and South Korea into the bloc within the next five years, Viktor Sobolev has predicted
NATO looking to expand into Asia – Russian MP

NATO could embark on a new wave of expansion by the end of the decade, taking in new members in Asia to gain an edge in a stand-off with several regional powers that tend to disagree with Washington’s foreign policies, a Russian lawmaker suggested on Monday.

General Viktor Sobolev, a member of Russia’s Communist Party, said the US-led military bloc could include Japan and South Korea in the medium term. “It is obvious that the Westerners have set a course for the militarization of Asia,” he said, adding that the US would do everything in its power to “drag” the two countries into the bloc to put pressure on Russia, China and North Korea.

“Obviously, this can’t happen immediately in the next two to three years, but such an outcome is plausible within five years. Our political and military leadership must take this very seriously, this is a real, very tangible threat”, he said, as quoted by the Russian Telegram channel Taynaya Kantselyaria.

Sobolev’s comments come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this month stated that NATO was seeking to install its forces and military infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific in a bid to deter regional powers. 

Meanwhile, in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the US-led alliance could eventually merge with AUKUS, a regional security pact first announced by Australia, Britain and the US in 2021 amid heightened tensions between the West and China. As part of the project, Australia is set to procure its first nuclear-powered submarines, which are scheduled to enter service in the early 2030s.

Commenting on the possible integration of the two blocs, Putin remarked at the time that the US seeks to “reformat the system of inter-state interaction that has developed in the Asia-Pacific region.”