China opposes Montenegro’s accession to NATO

BEIJING, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s invitation to Montenegro is drawing rebuke from a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who called the U.S.-led group a “product of the Cold War.”

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Hua Chunying told reporters China is closely watching the negotiations between NATO and the Balkan state, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Beijing is not welcoming the move from NATO, and on Thursday Hua suggested it could lead countries down a path of divisiveness.

“We think NATO is a product of the Cold War,” Hua said, adding China opposes NATO’s expansion to include additional states.

“In the global age we live in, the security of all countries is interconnected and mutually affect each other…no one country, or group, can seek to rely only on the absolute security of its own strength.”

NATO’s invitation to Montenegro is its first expansion in six years, the BBC reported.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg described the decision as “historic”, but a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin had said Montenegro’s accession would result in “retaliatory actions.”

NATO was founded in 1949, and is the foundation of a U.S.-led defense strategy in Europe. The alliance functions as a collective security mechanism, and played a pivotal role in defending Western Europe from the Soviet bloc.

Yonhap reported Beijing could be opposed to Montenegro’s accession and the general expansion of NATO because the measures could interfere with Beijing’s plans to export a long-range air defense missile system to Turkey.

By Elizabeth Shim

UPI NEWS