Most Asia-Pacific countries don’t welcome NATO’s outreach: spokesperson

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) — The majority of Asia-Pacific countries don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia and certainly will not allow any Cold War or hot war to happen again in Asia, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Wang made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on remarks of leaders of many countries, including Indonesia and Singapore, that they don’t want to see a “new Cold War” or be forced to choose sides between China and the U.S. during the recent Shangri-La Dialogue.

Wang said those remarks are a clear indication that many countries in this region are alerted by and opposed to certain country’s attempt to set off a “new Cold War” in Asia and force regional countries to choose sides. What countries want in this region is to maintain strategic independence and keep the region stable and prosperous.

What is particularly concerning is that certain countries, while claiming to champion freedom and openness and aim to preserve peace and prosperity in the region, have been in fact patching up various military blocs and extending NATO’s influence into the Asia-Pacific, he said.

The attitude of the majority of countries in the region is very clear. They oppose the emergence of military blocs in the region, don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia, don’t want a replica of bloc confrontation in Asia, and they certainly will not allow any Cold War or hot war to happen again in Asia, Wang said.

“Asia is the most economically dynamic and promising region in the world, it can offer a vast stage for win-win cooperation, and should not be divided into isolated, exclusive blocs,” the spokesperson said, noting that Asian countries welcome common efforts to succeed together and do not welcome schemes that could bring trouble to this region.

Wang said China firmly supports ASEAN centrality and an inclusive regional cooperation architecture, and would like to work with ASEAN countries and other partners in the region to uphold the spirit of open and win-win cooperation, oppose any rhetoric or action that incites bloc confrontation in Asia, and together make sure that Asia will remain a pillar for peace, a pacesetter for development and a promising land for cooperation.