China accuses NATO of provoking ‘new Cold War’

Chinese commanding officer (left) presents flowers to Russian commanding officer at the launch of the joint military exercise, Sibu/Cooperation-2021, held in the north of China last August involving 10,000 troops

CHINA’S embassy in Brussels has warned NATO against dragging the planet towards a new Cold War through its ‘outdated security’ strategies.

A spokesperson for the Chinese representation in the European Union (EU) said in a statement on Saturday that the ‘world’s largest military alliance, NATO, follows an outdated security concept’.
‘It has been expanding its geographical scope and range of operations and is using Cold War tactics to provoke bloc rivalry.’
‘We must stay on high alert and say no to a “new Cold War”,’ said the spokesperson, whose name was not mentioned in the reports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his American counterpart, Joe Biden, that the ongoing war in Ukraine has to end as soon as possible.
Speaking at a NATO summit, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said China was encouraging ‘Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and misinformation.’
The NATO leaders also issued a joint statement after the summit, calling on all states, including China, to ‘refrain from any action that helps Russia circumvent sanctions’.
The Chinese embassy said the language was intended to ‘fan the flames to stir up trouble’.
‘We feel it necessary to remind NATO once again to have a thorough and accurate understanding of China’s longstanding and consistent position,’ it added.
The spokesperson said that following the eruption of the conflict in Ukraine, Beijing has been ‘working actively and constructively’ to assist peace talks. ‘Time will prove that China is on the right side of history.
‘In the meantime, what has NATO done? Anyone without prejudice would come to a fair conclusion.’
The United States and its European allies have imposed sanctions on Russia, ranging from an overseas assets freeze on the Russian central bank to a ban on Russian exports of crude oil, in the wake of Russia’s ‘special military operation’, which was launched on February 24th.
China says the sanctions are unilateral and not authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
The world’s second-biggest economy, China has developed close ties with Russia in recent years.
The two world powers issued a lengthy 5,000-word statement early in February against the expansion of NATO, calling the US-led military alliance a relic of the Cold War.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in China on Wednesday for talks on Afghanistan, marking his first visit to the Asian country since Moscow launched a military operation in Ukraine last month.
The Russian embassy in Beijing confirmed in a post on its Weibo social media account on Wednesday that Lavrov had landed in the eastern city of Huangshan, posting photos of delegates descending from a plane and being met by health officials in hazmat suits.
Lavrov attended the third edition of a gathering of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries in Tunxi, an ancient town in East China’s Anhui province.
Top diplomats or representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are scheduled to attend the event.
Taliban acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, was also present at the gathering hosted by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Qatar and Indonesia attended as guests.
The event’s first and second editions were respectively hosted by Pakistan and the Islamic Republic last year.
According to China’s foreign ministry, the Russian foreign minister also took part in a separate meeting of the ‘Extended Troika’ with special envoys on Afghanistan from China and the United States.
‘China, the US, Russia and Pakistan are all countries with significant influence on the Afghan issue,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said of the Troika meeting at a regular press conference on Tuesday.
Afghanistan has been in turmoil since the Taliban, who had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 last year and subsequently announced the formation of a caretaker government.
The group’s resurgence came amidst the hasty and chaotic departure of American forces from the Central Asian country.
The United States and its allies have largely suspended their financial assistance to Afghanistan, adding fuel to a refugee crisis that has dramatically affected Afghanistan’s neighbours.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank since the withdrawal of its occupation forces.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have also suspended activities in Afghanistan, withholding aid as well as $340 million in new reserves issued by the IMF.
Columbia University political scientist Alexander Cooley, an expert on Central Asia, said China will seek to position itself as the leading champion for humanitarian assistance and economic development projects in Afghanistan at this week’s gatherings, adding that it will openly call for the US to unfreeze the Afghan government’s assets and accounts.
Meanwhile, Russia’s offensive against Ukraine is also likely to loom large over proceedings.
Western leaders have stepped up pressure on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, agreeing to increase military aid to Kiev and tighten their sanctions on Moscow.
It is not clear whether Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart will meet outside of the Afghanistan talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow.
Unlike many Western countries, China has refused to condemn Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Beijing has repeatedly voiced opposition to the sanctions, insisting it will maintain normal economic and trade exchanges with Russia.
On Monday, Lavrov said Russia’s relations with China are at their strongest level ever, at a time when Western nations are seeking to isolate Moscow with unprecedented sanctions over Ukraine.

  • Russia’s lead negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, said on Wednesday that Ukraine agreed in principle to officially become a neutral country. Ukraine’s bid to join NATO was one of the reasons Moscow said it launched a military campaign against the country last month.

Medinsky made his statement a day after the sides held a peace summit in Istanbul, Turkey. He said the Ukrainian team presented a draft roadmapping a future peace deal.
‘Yesterday, for the first time, the Ukrainian party announced, not only orally but also in written form, that it’s ready to fulfil a number of the most important conditions for building normal, and, hopefully, good-neighbourly relations with Russia in the future.
‘Let me remind you that after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine, Russia has been making these demands to the Kiev regime, to its patrons, especially the United States, for years.
‘Russia proposed negotiations, proposed to conclude various kinds of agreements that were supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s security and provide Russia’s national interests in this area.
‘All these demands had been ignored for years. And the North Atlantic Alliance has also been creating an anti-Russian foothold from Ukraine, more precisely, from Ukrainian territory, for years.
‘Ukraine’s entry into NATO, the creation of NATO military bases on its territory seemed to be a settled issue. It was a matter of time.
‘I’ll note, and this has already been proven, that there were also efforts on creating biological weapons. Moreover, the issue of Ukraine’s acquisition of nuclear weapons was also made public knowledge.
‘All these years, the Kiev regime has carried out an open genocide against the residents of Donbass.
‘There’s a lot of evidence for this. There’s irrefutable evidence that Kiev was planning to launch an offensive against Donbass in the near future. In that case Russia would have had to stand up for tens and tens of thousands of our Russian citizens living there anyway.
‘Under these circumstances, Russia was forced to launch a pre-emptive special military operation.
‘Yesterday, for the first time in all these years, the Kiev authorities declared that they are ready to negotiate with Russia and conveyed the provisions of a possible future agreement, which states the following:

  • The refusal to join NATO, fixation of Ukraine’s bloc-free status.
  • The renunciation of nuclear weapons.
  • An obligation to conduct troop exercises only with the consent of the guarantor states, which must include Russia.

‘That is, Ukraine stated that it’s ready to fulfil these demands that Russia has been insisting on all these years.
‘If all these obligations are fulfilled, the threat of creating a NATO bridgehead on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated. That’s why it’s so important to agree upon this treaty at the highest level. However, the negotiations and our work continue.
‘I’d like to stress that Russia’s position regarding Crimea and Donbass remains the same.’