China says Nato has ‘messed up Europe’ and warns over role in Asia-Pacific


China’s ministry of foreign affairs has accused Nato of messing up Europe and stirring up conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region, after the UK’s foreign secretary told China it should “play by the rules”.

In a speech at Mansion House in London on Wednesday, Liz Truss renewed calls to boost Nato in the wake of the Ukraine war, and said the coordinated moves to isolate Russia from the world economy proved that market access to democratic countries was no longer a given. Truss also delivered a direct warning to China.

“Countries must play by the rules. And that includes China,” she said.

On Thursday Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s ministry of foreign affairs, dismissed Truss’s comments and accused Nato of demanding other countries abide by basic norms while it has “wantonly waged wars and dropped bombs in sovereign states, killing and displacing innocent civilians”.

“Nato, a military organisation in the North Atlantic, has in recent years come to the Asia-Pacific region to throw its weight around and stir up conflicts,” Wang said.

“Nato has messed up Europe. Is it now trying to mess up the Asia-Pacific and even the world?”

In her speech Truss said Nato had to pre-empt threats in the Indo-Pacific and extend its outlook to democracies outside its membership, like Taiwan, which Beijing claims is a breakaway Chinese province it must retake. She suggested China’s economic rise – now the world’s second largest economy to Britain’s sixth – could be targeted.

“[China] will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules. China needs trade with the G7. We [the Group of Seven]represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices,” Truss said.

“We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we’re prepared to make when international rules are violated.”

China has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, one of its closest allies, drawing criticism and urgings from European and other governments to use its influence on Moscow. A recent China-EU summit was reportedly strained as Chinese representatives rebuffed pressure by European counterparts to help end the war. Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing would pursue peace “in its own way”.

Beijing firmly opposes linking the Ukraine war to its relations with Moscow and has said it will defend the rights of Chinese individuals and companies. On Thursday Wang said China’s position on the conflict had been “consistent and clear”.

“We have always made independent judgments based on the merits of the case,” he said, adding no further detail.

Truss has previously accused China and Russia being “aggressors working in concert”, telling Australian media she couldn’t rule out China using Russia’s invasion as an opportunity to launch its own act of aggression.

Source: The Guardian