China castigates ‘NATO-style’ alliances in Asia-Pacific

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu on Sunday slammed the creation of “Nato-like” military alliances in the Asia-Pacific, predicting they will plunge the region into a “whirlwind” of conflict.

“Attempts to promote NATO-like (alliances) in the Asia-Pacific region are a way of kidnapping the countries of this region and exaggerating conflicts and confrontations, which will only plunge the Asia-Pacific in a whirlwind of disputes and conflicts,” Li warned at a Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore.

“Today’s Asia-Pacific needs open and inclusive cooperation, not amalgamation into small cliques. We must not forget the grave disasters caused by the two world wars to the peoples of all country, and we must not allow this tragic history to repeat itself,” added the Minister.

Mr. Li did not name any specific country, but his remarks implicitly target the United States, which has strengthened its alliances and partnerships in the region to counter Beijing’s influence.

The United States is a member of the AUKUS alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom, and of the QUAD with Australia, India and Japan.

– “Dangerous” maneuvers –

Li’s warning comes as a new incident has rekindled US-China tensions in the Taiwan Strait, with the US Navy accusing a Chinese ship on Saturday of zigzagging “dangerously” around it. an American destroyer.

The Taiwan Strait (AFP - Patricio ARANA)
The Taiwan Strait (AFP – Patricio ARANA)

The Chinese building “carried out dangerous maneuvers near the Chung-Hoon”, an American destroyer which was sailing in the strait on Saturday, the American command said in a press release.

The incident occurred as the USS Chung-Hoon, an Aegis destroyer part of the United States Pacific Fleet, sailed alongside the Canadian ship HMCS Montreal in the 180 km wide Taiwan Strait, which separates the self-governing island of the same name in mainland China.

The Chinese military said it monitored the passage of the two ships, but did not mention any incidents.

“Relevant countries intentionally create trouble in the Taiwan Strait, deliberately stoke risks and maliciously undermine regional peace and stability,” said Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for China’s Eastern Command.

American ships regularly cross the Taiwan Strait but they rarely do so accompanied by an Allied ship. The last joint American-Canadian passage dates back to September.

These crossings irritate China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and claims to have sovereign rights over the strait.

This is the second episode of friction between the two countries in less than 10 days in the region.

On May 26, a Chinese fighter pilot performed “an unwarranted aggressive maneuver” near a US reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea, US military officials said.

– Actions “increasingly risky” –

In response to two incidents between the forces of the two countries in recent days, the US Department of Defense on Sunday denounced the “increasingly risky” actions of the Chinese army in Asia.

US Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin (center, left) and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu (center, left) during a lunch with their counterparts from other countries in Singapore, June 3, 2023 (Singapore Ministry of Defense /AFP - Handout)
US Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin (center, left) and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu (center, left) during a lunch with their counterparts from other countries in Singapore, June 3, 2023 (Singapore Ministry of Defense /AFP – Handout)

“We continue to be concerned about the People’s Liberation Army’s increasingly risky and coercive activities in the region, including in recent days,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. who attends with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Singapore conference.

After briefly greeting his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu at the conference’s opening dinner, Mr. Austin on Saturday deemed it “essential” to renew dialogue with China to avoid “misunderstandings” that could lead to a conflict between the two countries. .

The revival of relations between the two powers stalled at the start of the year after a Chinese balloon flew over American territory. And despite the American promise of a “thaw”, the two countries continue to cross swords on the issues of Taiwan, Chinese territorial claims in the China Sea or even the strategic microchip issue.

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by

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