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China Asks US, Japan Not to Turn Asia-Pacific Region into Wrestling Ring

“The Asia-Pacific is an anchor for peace and development, not a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a regular press briefing. “Countries in the region are for justice and against hegemonism. They hope to engage in cooperation, not confrontation. They aspire for true multilateralism and reject small circles that incite bloc confrontation,” the spokesman added, Sputnik reported.

Wang called on China and Japan to “abandon” their “Cold War mentality and ideological bias” against China, “stop creating imaginary enemies and stop trying to sow the seeds of a new Cold War in the Asia-Pacific, and not become disrupters of a stable Asia-Pacific.”

Wang also dismissed the contents of a January 11 joint statement by the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee in Washington following meetings of the two countries foreign and defense ministers, which outlined China’s purported attempts to “reshape the international order” and “unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East China Sea” as cause for concern.

“The wording on China in this joint statement smacks heavily of a zero-sum Cold War mentality and contains groundless smears and attacks on China,” Wang said. “The US and Japan claim to advance regional peace and security, but engage in finding pretexts for a military build-up and the willful use of force.

They claim to champion a free and open Indo-Pacific, but put up various exclusionary blocs to create division and confrontation. They claim to uphold the rules-based international order, but trample on international law and the basic norms governing international relations and grossly interfere in other countries’ internal affairs,” the spokesman said.

Wang’s remarks come against the backdrop of Japan’s plans to more than double defense spending over the next five years and become the world’s third-largest military spender after the US and China.

Beijing has also repeatedly expressed concerns about US policies in the Asian nation’s backyard over recent months, citing Washington’s provocative and escalatory steps in Taiwan, continued ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea, and efforts by the Pentagon to find allies willing to host a new generation of US ground-based nuclear-capable missile systems near China.

In a debate at the United Nations Security Council on the international rule of law on Thursday, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun slammed US rhetoric on the so-called ‘rules-based international order’, saying Beijing has yet to receive a clear answer regarding “what kind of rules” this so-called order and “who creates these rules.”

Zhang expressed suspicion about the motives of countries “chanting the rules-based mantra at every opportunity,” suggesting that their true purpose was “to create an alternative to the existing system of international law, to impose their own standards and will on others by putting their own narrow interests at the center of the universe, and to open the back door to double standards and ‘exceptionalism’.”

At the debate, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused China and Russia of blocking efforts to condemn North Korea’s possible preparations for a new nuclear test, and vowed that Washington would “continue the advance the rule of law” both at home and abroad.

“The statement made by the US representative earlier today further convinces us that our suspicion is fully justified. If we let this dangerous trend go unchecked, our world will regress into the age when the law of the jungle and power politics ruled the day,” Zhang said.