US' Indo-Pacific strategy as 'dangerous' as NATO expansion: China

Beijing: The US' Indo-Pacific strategy is as "dangerous" as NATO's eastward expansion in Europe resulting in Russia's military offensive against Ukraine, a senior Chinese diplomat has said.

"With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) should have been consigned to history alongside the Warsaw Pact," China's Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said while addressing the International Forum on Security and Strategy hosted by the Centre for International Security and Strategy of Tsinghua University on Saturday.

"However, rather than breaking up, NATO has kept strengthening and expanding. One could well anticipate the consequences going down this path. The crisis in Ukraine is a stern warning," he said. Chinese officials say NATO's plans to admit Kyiv heightened Russia's insecurity resulting in Russian President Vladimir Putin's military action against Ukraine. Ever since Russia began military operations in Ukraine last month, China, a close ally of Moscow, has been treading a fine line, declining to condemn it as an invasion.

"All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace," Le said.

"One should not seek its own absolute security, said Le, the former Chinese Ambassador to India and widely tipped to succeed the present Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in this year's leadership reshuffle.

"Since NATO made a promise back then, it should not renege on its word and keep pushing its boundary eastward. The pursuit of absolute security actually leads to absolute insecurity, he said. "Going against the trend to pursue the Indo-Pacific strategy, provoke trouble, put together closed and exclusive small circles or groups, and get the region off course toward fragmentation and bloc-based division is as dangerous as the NATO strategy of eastward expansion in Europe," Le said.

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