The Chinese minister made the remarks during a speech at an online dialogue of global think tanks from 20 countries, Xinhua reported.
Le claimed that the US has been flexing its muscles on China’s doorstep for quite some time, forming exclusive groups against China and heating up the Taiwan issue to test China’s red line, the report said.
“If this isn’t an Asia-Pacific version of NATO’s eastward expansion, then what is? Such a strategy, if left unchecked, would have dire consequences and plunge the Asia-Pacific region over the brink of a cliff,” Le said.
The Chinese minister further claimed that China is committed to peaceful development and seeks harmony, solidarity and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, adding that China has never been a provocateur or troublemaker.
“It makes no sense to target China. Trying to copy and paste the Ukraine crisis in Asia-Pacific is doomed to failure,” Le said, according to Xinhua.
Referring to the ongoing war in Ukraine and China’s position on the conflict, Le said that some people had misinterpreted the words of the recent joint statement between China and Russia and “friendship has no borders and cooperation has no forbidden areas” in order to mean that China had “prior knowledge” of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and even “approved” it.
“This is absurd,” Le said, adding that China is not involved in the conflict, let alone the one that caused it. So how could China be responsible?
“The truth is that China wants friendly relations with all countries, and we never set limits on cooperation, nor see the need for it,” he said.
China has come under pressure from Western countries, particularly the US, for its tactical support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the continuation of trade deals and its refusal to condemn Russian actions.
A few days ago, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Beijing to “unambiguously condemn” Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“China should join the rest of the world in strongly condemning Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. China, as a member of the UN Security Council, has an obligation to effectively support and uphold international law, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law,” Stoltenberg reportedly said.