MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference on European security issues on Thursday that NATO followed Europe in creating an explosive situation in the Asia-Pacific region, prompting Russia and China to strengthen their military cooperation and hold joint exercises in response.
"We know how seriously the People’s Republic of China regards these provocations [by NATO in the South China Sea], let alone Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. We understand that this playing with fire by NATO in that part of the world carries threats and risks for the Russian Federation. It’s as close to our shores and our seas as it is to Chinese territory. So, our military cooperation with the People’s Republic of China is developing. We are holding joint exercises, both counterterrorism exercises and air patrolling exercises," the minister said.
"These are precautions that show our readiness for any eventuality. But the fact that it’s NATO, led by the US, that follows Europe in trying to create an explosive situation there is perfectly well understood by everyone," he said.
Lavrov pointed to the US strategy to set up military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the minister, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan are now being actively enticed to join one of these blocs, AUKUS.
"Just as the US and the European Union in Ukraine have destroyed all the principles of OSCE cooperation and promoted their unilateral approaches, as they are more broadly destroying the OSCE and offering the region narrow, non-inclusive formats such as the European Political Community, they in the same way destroy the universal platform for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region - I mean the ASEAN," the minister said.
"The destructive nature of U.S. actions against these organizations is obvious to all. A course is taken to regularly create disturbances, hot spots in the hope that the US is far away, and the more crises it provokes, the more US competitors will weaken themselves, weaken each other. Just like Europe is now weakening itself by running recklessly after the US and supporting its Russophobic policy and policy of using Ukraine as a means of warfare against the Russian Federation," the minister said.