By Zheng Zaixing
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently visited the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, trying to strengthen the ties between NATO and Asia-Pacific countries by hyping up regional tensions, and even to build an "Asia-Pacific version of NATO". NATO's attempt is likely to lead to an arms race, posing a threat to regional security and stability.
NATO is a military alliance with distinct exclusiveness led and established by the United States after World War II for the purpose of engaging in bloc confrontation, which aims to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in central and eastern Europe. Today, although the Cold War has long ended, NATO still exists and has been in constant conflict with countries holding different political concepts and systems. With its continuous expansion of influence in the military and security fields in Europe, NATO has promoted several rounds of eastward expansion, which has intensified the conflict with Russia and should be blamed for the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In recent years, the United States and the US-led NATO have taken frequent actions in the Asia-Pacific region in an attempt to dominate the regional security architecture. As an extraterritorial organization, NATO has wantonly called for other countries to defend against the so-called "China threat", in an attempt to extend its influence to the Asia-Pacific region, and even to promote the transition of NATO into a global alliance.
Especially after the Ukraine crisis, NATO has created tension in the Asia-Pacific region, trying to establish a new security alliance with the US Asia-Pacific allies and build an "Asia-Pacific version of NATO".
China, on the other hand, has issued a warning, stressing that the Asia-Pacific region does not welcome the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, and urging NATO to have in-deep introspection on what role it has played for European security, instead of trying to mess up the Asia-Pacific region and even the world following the chaos it has made in Europe.
At present, the United States is increasing its pressure on China through the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY), the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, the trilateral security partnership of the United States, Britain and Australia, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), while promoting the introduction of NATO into the Asia-Pacific region. If Asian countries agree with the relevant US operations and form a new security alliance with NATO in the region, it is highly possible to step towards a "new cold war" in terms of the regional pattern, with security risks on a significant rise. Besides, NATO's expansion of its tentacles to the Asia-Pacific region is also not conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
China has been vigorously promoting world multipolarity and is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind and new-type international relations. In dealing with relations with neighboring countries, China has pursuedthe principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with its neighbors, taking the initiative to deepen friendship, mutual trust and interest fusion with its neighbors.
In China's view, the United States and its allies are ostensibly defending the so-called "rules-based international order", which in essence, is just to safeguard their own interests. China has always opposed the creation of various cliques in the Asia-Pacific region and stressed that all parties should adhere to true multilateralism.
At present, peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region are facing new situations. In order to effectively respond to various security challenges, including effectively safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, Asia-Pacific countries must adhere to openness and inclusiveness, multilateralism and difference resolution through dialogue and cooperation, instead of pursuing their own absolute security or expanding exclusive military security alliance of any kind.
(The author is the director of the Security Strategy Research Office and director of the China Research Centerat the Sejong Institute of the ROK.)