China on Wednesday urged NATO to immediately stop smearing and lying about China, halt the dangerous attempt to destabilize Europe and the Asia-Pacific and stop finding pretext for its continuous expansion.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, made the remarks in response to a communique issued during the ongoing NATO Summit in Vilnius, which said that China's policies pose "systemic challenges to Euro-Atlantic security."
"What's said in the NATO communique is a complete opposite of the truth and the product of Cold War mentality and ideological bias. China strongly opposes it," said Wang.
"China has the best record on peace and security. We have never invaded any country or engaged in any proxy war. We have never conducted global military operations, threatened other countries with force, exported ideology or interfered in other countries' internal affairs. We do not set up or participate in military groups and oppose the use of force or threat of force in international relations. How would such a China pose 'systemic challenges' to NATO?" Wang asked.
China is a force for world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, and a source of public good. China is committed to the international system with the United Nations (UN) at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms governing international relations that stem from the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, he said.
He added that more than 30 years after the end of the Cold War, its legacy NATO remains trapped in a zero-sum mindset and views the world as opposing blocs. Despite the global community's call for peace, development, and common progress, NATO continues to act against the prevailing trend and seek to turn back the wheel of history.
"The world will not welcome this," he said.
NATO claims to be a regional organization, why then is NATO reaching beyond its geographical scope laid down in its treaty, making its foray into the Asia-Pacific at a faster pace and seeking to become a "Global NATO?" Wang asked.
NATO claims to be a defensive alliance, why then is NATO encouraging member states to ramp up military budget, keep crossing the line and expanding the mandate, and stoke confrontation in the Asia Pacific?
He went on saying that NATO claims to defend a "rules-based international order," but it has been ignoring international law and basic norms governing international relations and interfering in other countries' internal affairs. NATO has taken part in various wars and acted as a scaremonger on security issues, as if the world needed any more instability. NATO has been piecing together exclusive blocs and promoting group politics to intensify ideological and bloc confrontation.
Wang said that the prosperity and stability that the Asia-Pacific has long enjoyed depends on the mutual respect, open cooperation, mutual benefit and the ability to properly resolve differences among regional countries. NATO's foray into the Asia-Pacific will only stir up tension and lead to bloc confrontation and even a "new Cold War" in this region.
"Asia-Pacific countries do not welcome it and many NATO states do not approve of it. The Asia-Pacific does not need an 'Asia-Pacific version of NATO,'" Wang said.
"We urge NATO to immediately stop smearing and lying about China. NATO must abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and zero-sum mindset, renounce its blind faith in military might and misguided practice of seeking absolute security, halt the dangerous attempt to destabilize Europe and the Asia-Pacific and stop finding pretext for its continuous expansion. We urge NATO to play a constructive role for world peace and stability," he said.
Responding to the communique that said China lacks "transparency" in nuclear arsenal, Wang commented that NATO, as a military alliance, is known to have the largest and most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, and yet it irresponsibly accuses China of posing nuclear threats and does so through megaphone diplomacy.
"This is simply wrong and hypocritical. China is gravely concerned and strongly opposed to this," said Wang.
He said, China has always been extremely prudent and responsible about nuclear weapon issues. China is committed to a defensive nuclear strategy and keeps nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required by national security.
"We never had the intent to engage in nuclear arms race. China follows a policy of 'no first use' of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances and has committed unconditionally to not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones. China is the only nuclear weapon state to have adopted such a policy. Would any NATO member states make such a commitment?" Wang asked.
He said that the international community has more reasons to be concerned over NATO's nuclear-sharing arrangement, through which NATO maintains the world's largest nuclear arsenal.
Certain member states are accelerating the modernization of their nuclear power, strengthening the so-called "extended deterrence" and heightening the risk of nuclear proliferation and conflict. If NATO members are truly interested in reducing strategic risk and safeguarding strategic stability, they should lower the role of nuclear weapons in national and collective security policies, promote strategic stability with concrete actions and uphold international and regional peace and security, Wang said.