China warns Japan and other countries against backing NATO’s expansion into the East and Asia-Pacific region
By Laura Harris // Aug 09, 2023

Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui has warned Japan and other Asian countries against supporting the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into the East and Asia-Pacific region. Zhang stated that such a move would be akin to allowing "the wolf into the sheepfold."

In an exclusive interview with TASS on August 3, Zhang emphasized the need to heed historical lessons and prioritize regional peace and stability. The ambassador also reiterated the potential dangers of involving the U.S.-led military alliance in the East.

"We advise Japan and other courtiers to learn the lessons of history in full: They should not, without taking the stance of other nations into consideration, unilaterally undermine peace and stability in the region, they should not become the proponents of NATO's expansion into the East. Like they say: Let the wolf into the sheepfold, it will take a bite on every sheep," said Zhang.

The warning follows recent discussions within NATO about establishing a liaison office in Japan. This move would mark the first official presence of the bloc in the Asia-Pacific. Although Tokyo indicated its interest in the proposal, the idea faced resistance from France during President Emmanuel Macron's visit to China. France argued that NATO's scope should remain confined to the North Atlantic, and as a result, the initiative was reportedly shelved.

The opposition of China to the potential expansion of NATO into the region has been resolute. Earlier this year, Beijing vowed a strong response should the alliance move closer to its borders. In July, China pledged to "safeguard its sovereignty" and oppose any actions that threaten its legitimate rights and interests. These sentiments were echoed by Russia, which has also raised concerns about the presence of Western military forces near its territory.

NATO plans to build a liaison office in Tokyo

Back in May, Koji Tomita, the Japanese ambassador to the U.S., announced in a press conference the plan of NATO to build a liaison office in Tokyo. Tomita emphasized the pursuit of Japan for "closer alignment" on issues related to the growing influence and assertiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific region. This move comes as part of a broader effort by Japan to bolster its diplomatic and security ties, particularly with regard to China. (Related: NATO preparing for World War III.)

Tomita said the overarching theme of the G-7 summit hosted by Japan in May is the commitment to "maintaining and strengthening a free, open, rules-based international order" amid the complex global landscape marked by the actions of Russia in Ukraine and the advancements of North Korea in long-range missile capabilities.

The plan of NATO to establish a liaison office in Tokyo solidifies its recognition of Japan as a valuable partner nation, alongside Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the leaders of Australia, New Zealand and South Korea were invited to attend a NATO summit for the first time in June 2022.

In late January, Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also convened in Tokyo. The two leaders affirmed their commitment to forging closer connections and fostering communication in light of rapidly shifting power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

A joint statement released at the time emphasized the shared view that "unilateral change of the status quo by force or coercion is not acceptable anywhere in the world." The statement also hints at the growing military collaboration between Russia and China, specifically highlighting joint operations and drills near Japan.

However, the plan seems to be on hold for the time being. Several media reports indicate that the alliance might build the office in Tokyo during the upcoming autumn or possibly at a later date.

Watch this video to learn more about NATO.

This video is from the Battle Axe of Yah channel on

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