SINGAPORE: It was last June when a British destroyer entered Black Sea waters claimed by Russia since its 2014 annexation of Crimea. In response, Russian Coastguard fired shots into the distance.
Days later, the warship joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) naval exercise in the region involving 32 countries and co-led by the United States and Ukraine.
Some analysts point to events like this as examples of Russia’s fear of NATO and claims of provocation, and of why the military alliance was one of President Vladimir Putin’s justifications for war on Ukraine.
The Chinese government’s narrative also attributes responsibility for the Ukraine crisis to NATO and the US — while other governments and analysts deem the invasion of Ukraine illegal and say NATO expansionism is not a valid reason for invading a country.
Amid the unfolding crisis, China has gone further and drawn a parallel between NATO and the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy announced by the Biden administration in February.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in March: (The strategy) seeks to maintain the US-led system of hegemony, undermines the Asean-centred regional co-operation architecture, and compromises the overall and long-term interests of countries in the region.
“The perverse actions run counter to the common aspirations of the region for peace, development, co-operation and win-win outcomes. They’re doomed to fail.”
Key thrusts of the new US strategy include a free and open Indo-Pacific; supporting India’s continued rise and regional leadership; strengthening...