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Ensuring regional security not feasible via NATO expansion — Chinese foreign ministry

"It is impossible to ensure regional security by means of strengthening and expanding military blocs," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin stressed
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin

BEIJING, May 18. /TASS/. It is impossible to ensure European security by expanding military blocs, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a briefing on Thursday.

"It is impossible to ensure regional security by means of strengthening and expanding military blocs. One country’s security should not be ensured at the expense of the security of others,"he said in response to a TASS request to comment on published remarks by Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State (1973-1977) and National Security Advisor to two presidents (1969-1975), about Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO.

China expects all parties to the conflict to adhere to a common, comprehensive and sustainable security concept, Wang added. According to the senior diplomat, this could be achieved through dialogue and consultations based on respect for the legitimate security interests of all parties.

On May 17, The Economist magazine published an interview with Kissinger, who will turn 100 years old on May 27. In the interview, the doyen of US diplomacy and veteran practitioner of geopolitics said that Ukraine should become a member state of NATO. According to him, Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance would be in the interests of both Kiev and Moscow, and would serve as a guarantee against any future attempts by the Ukrainian leadership to resolve territorial disputes by military means.

Kissinger acknowledged that he had changed his point of view about Ukraine's potential membership in NATO, saying he would prefer to avoid a situation wherein Ukraine became a non-aligned neutral state.

On May 15, the Washington Post reported, quoting sources, that the NATO countries had decided not to send Ukraine an invitation to become a member of the alliance at its upcoming summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, but are discussing the possibility of stepping up cooperation with Kiev and potentially establishing a timeframe for its entry into the military bloc. According to the authoritative US publication, a consensus exists among the alliance’s members that, in spite of Kiev's fervent pleas, NATO will not be extending an official invitation to Ukraine to join the bloc during the Vilnius summit on July 11-12.

NATO adopted a political declaration at the Bucharest summit in April 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a NATO member, but declined to provide a Membership Action Plan (MAP), the first step in a prospective member country's legal procedure for joining the organization. In February 2019, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) approved amendments to Ukraine's constitution enshrining its NATO aspirations into law. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly stated that Kiev was seeking to obtain an understanding of a specific date by which Ukraine could expect to join the alliance.