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China suggests Japan against hosting NATO office

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Beijing urges Japan to reject NATO’s proposal for Tokyo office, citing regional stability concerns

China urged Japan on Tuesday to refrain from action that could harm the peace and stability of the region regarding NATO’s proposal to open an office in Tokyo.

“Japan should make the right call in keeping with the region’s stability and development interests,” spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing, according to a transcript of a news conference shared by China’s Foreign Ministry. “Asia lies beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic and has no need for a replica of NATO.”

He stressed that a majority of countries oppose the “emergence of military blocs” in the region. “They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia. They don’t want a replica of bloc confrontation,” he said.

His comments came after reports last month that claimed NATO would open its first one-person liaison office in Tokyo.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg welcomed Japan’s decision to open a “dedicated diplomatic mission” to the military alliance last month.

“We welcome very much that you (Tokyo) have decided to open a dedicated diplomatic mission to NATO,” he said at a news conference in Brussels.

While the NATO chief advocated strengthening ties with the Asia-Pacific region, China has pushed back on such attempts.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also objected to NATO’s plans to open an office in Japan, which would contribute to NATO-China tension.

“If  … we push NATO to enlarge the spectrum and the geography, we will make a big mistake,” Macron said at a conference last week, according to the Financial Times.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Tuesday: “Various considerations are underway within NATO. At this point, I will refrain from commenting with prejudgment,” as quoted by Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

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