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No place for military blocs in Asia-Pacific – Putin

The Asia-Pacific region should be free of military blocs because of their potential to undermine the security balance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

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Speaking at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday, Putin noted that recent talks between Moscow and Beijing had once again shown that the two countries’ approaches to many regional and international problems “are either correlated or aligned.”

He said both powers were pursuing an independent foreign policy as they strive for “a more just, democratic multipolar world order,” with the role of the United Nations at its center.

Putin added that Russia and China were advocating a “sustainable and adequate security architecture” in the Asia-Pacific region. In a clear reference to NATO and other Western-dominated organizations, Putin said the area “has no place for closed military and political alliances.”

“We believe that the creation of such alliances is harmful and counterproductive,” he added.

Meanwhile, Xi noted that the “Cold War mentality” remained rampant in the international arena, warning that “unilateral hegemony, bloc confrontation and power politics directly threaten the whole world and security of all countries.”

While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the US-led military bloc has no plans to expand into Asia and does not see China as an adversary, it will still keep tabs on events in the region and forge closer ties with its Indo-Pacific partners. The US also has separate treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In 2021, the US, UK, and Australia also established a security partnership called AUKUS, which involves Washington and London assisting Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

In November 2023, Putin said NATO was attempting to expand its zone of influence in the Asia-Pacific region. He rebuked the US over what he said were selfish attempts to “draw the alliance’s members into creating a tense situation” in the area. He noted that Moscow and Beijing were well aware of this policy and had been strengthening their defense capabilities by holding joint military drills.

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