China firmly opposes NATO's "eastward expansion" into the Asia-Pacific region, a spokesperson for the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU) said on Tuesday in light of a joint communique issued earlier in the day by NATO leaders, which called China a "systemic challenge," at their two-day summit in Vilnius in Lithuania.
The communique also claimed that "China's stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values."
The mission strongly rejected the claims, saying that the communique is filled with repetitive rhetoric echoing a Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It disregards basic facts and deliberately distorts China's stance and policies, tarnishing China's image, the statement issued by the mission read.
As a product of the Cold War, NATO has a questionable track record overt time. Against the backdrop of the deteriorating international security landscape, instead of reflecting on its own responsibilities, NATO, as a regional military bloc, not only continues to unjustly accuse other countries but also meddles in affairs beyond its borders, generating conflicts and exposing its hypocritical nature, the spokesperson said.
"Its expansionist ambitions and hegemonic motives are glaringly evident. By repeatedly declaring itself as a nuclear-armed alliance in the communique, NATO only exacerbates regional tensions, which China is deeply concerned," the statement noted.
China urges NATO to follow the trend of the times and listen to the just voices of the international community, which advocate peace, development, and cooperation.
The mission called for NATO to correct its misconceptions and play a constructive role in promoting world peace and stability.
It sternly warned that China will firmly defend its sovereignty, security, and development interests and strongly oppose NATO's eastward expansion into the Asia-Pacific. Any actions that undermine China's legitimate rights and interests will be met with resolute countermeasures.