BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng on Saturday called on countries in the Asia-Pacific to cherish peace, work together in unity and pursue a win-win future for the region.
"The Ukraine crisis keeps the world on edge. It also provides a mirror for us to observe the situation in the Asia-Pacific," Le said at the Fourth International Forum on Security and Strategy.
The Asia-Pacific is an anchor for world peace and stability, an engine for global growth and a new pace-setter in international cooperation, he said. "Such a promising situation has not come easily and should be cherished by all sides."
Le called on all countries in the region to cherish peace and not undermine regional tranquility; respect each other and not wantonly interfere in others' internal affairs; promote unity and cooperation and not create division and confrontation; and pursue independence and self-strength and not let others decide our future.
"China stands ready to work with all countries in the Asia-Pacific under the banner of true multilateralism to promote enduring peace, common development and open regionalism, and jointly open up brighter prospects for the Asia-Pacific community with a shared future," Le said.
Since the crisis in Ukraine started, China has worked actively to promote dialogue for peace, voicing its support for peace and doing its best for talks, Le said.
The European continent is a key region for world peace. It was marred by two World Wars and was not tranquil after the Cold War. Now flames of war are reignited. This is indeed deeply distressing and more importantly, should prompt us to profoundly reflect. The lesson is hard and painful. And the root cause lies in the Cold War mentality and power politics, Le noted.
Le said one should not seek its own absolute security. Since NATO promised that it would move "not one inch eastward," it should not renege on its word and keep pushing its boundary eastward by up to one thousand kilometers. Such pursuit of absolute security actually leads to absolute insecurity.
"Bloc politics and group confrontation should be rejected," Le said, adding that military bloc is a Cold War vestige. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO should have been consigned to history alongside the Warsaw Pact. However, rather than breaking up, NATO has kept strengthening and expanding. One could well anticipate the consequences going down this path. The crisis in Ukraine is a stern warning.
Le said globalization should not be "weaponized". China has all along opposed unilateral sanctions that have neither basis in international law nor mandate of the Security Council. History has shown time and again that instead of solving problems, imposing sanctions is like "putting out fire with firewood" and will only make things worse. The abuse of sanctions will bring catastrophic consequences for the entire world.
"Small countries should not be used as a pawn," Le noted, adding that some big countries do not want to get dragged into conflicts and bring harm to themselves, so they make empty promises to small countries, turn small countries into their cat's paw and even use them to fight proxy wars.
"A NATO commitment of no eastward expansion could have easily ended the crisis and stopped the sufferings. Instead, one chose to fan the flames at a safe distance, watching its own arms dealers, bankers and oil tycoons make a fortune out of the war while leaving people of a small country with the wounds of war that would take years to heal. This is highly immoral and irresponsible," he added. ■