Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. Photo/REUTERS
BEIJING – Most Asian countries oppose NATO’s eastward expansion in the Indo-Pacific and the establishment of a military replica of the alliance in the region, as it triggers bloc confrontation.
This warning was conveyed by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday (6/6/2023).
Earlier, British business newspapers reported, citing sources, that French President Emmanuel Macron had expressed his opposition to the idea of NATO opening an office in Tokyo.
He said doing so would damage relations between NATO and China. “Paris believes the alliance should not extend its geographic reach beyond its own North Atlantic territory,” the report said.
“Asia lies beyond the geographic reach of the North Atlantic and does not need a NATO replica. However, we have seen NATO determined to go east into this region, interfering in regional affairs and inciting bloc confrontations… The attitude of the majority of countries in the region is very clear. They oppose the emergence of a military bloc in the region. They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia,” Wang said.
He added that NATO’s actions “call for heightened alert” in the international community, particularly among Asian countries.
The spokesman also said the alliance needed to be careful in this regard, and Japan should “make the right call” for stability and sustainable development in the region, as well as refrain from actions that could “undermine mutual trust between regional countries and peace and stability in the region.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in May the alliance plans to open an office in Tokyo.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi later confirmed information about a potential NATO office, saying Tokyo was in talks to open one.
It will be the first NATO liaison office in Asia. Previously, such institutions were opened only in Georgia and Ukraine.
Apart from Japan, NATO is also considering South Korea and Australia as potential partners in the Indo-Pacific, according to Stoltenberg.