May 7 marks the anniversary of the
US attack on China’s Belgrade embassy
during NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia
Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
(May 6, 2022) — China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, told a UN Security Council meeting on the war in Ukraine Thursday that NATO’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War has “sowed the seeds of conflict.”
Zhang’s comments came as Beijing commemorates the anniversary of the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999, during the NATO air campaign in Yugoslavia.
“NATO’s repeated eastward expansion after the Cold War has not only failed to make Europe any safer, but also sowed the seeds of conflict,” Zhang said. “Contrary to its claim to be an organization defensive in nature, NATO has wantonly launched wars against sovereign countries, causing colossal casualties and humanitarian disasters.”
Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has expanded from 16 members to 30 and absorbed former Soviet states, including some that border Russia. The alliance has waged brutal bombing campaigns against former Yugoslavia and Libya, two countries that never attacked alliance members.
In the 1999 bombing of China’s embassy, three Chinese journalists were killed, and 20 Chinese diplomats were wounded. “The Chinese people will never forget this barbaric atrocity, and will never allow such history to repeat itself,” Zhang said. The US immediately apologized for the embassy bombing, saying it was an accident.
Zhang also took issue with NATO’s recent comments about China and its plans to work with countries in the Asia Pacific to counter Beijing. “NATO should immediately stop spreading disinformation and provocative remarks targeting China, and abandon the confrontational approach of drawing ideological lines,” he said.
Chinese officials have been warning NATO to stay out of Asia, something Zhang reiterated. “NATO has disrupted Europe. It should stop trying to destabilize Asia and the whole world,” he said.
Ukraine War: China Invokes 1999 Belgrade
Embassy Bombing in Attack on NATO Expansion
Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, fired the broadside at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday, more than two months after Russia’s invasion.
Zhang repeated Beijing’s position by calling for a peaceful resolution to the war and for efforts to limit the humanitarian impact of the war.
Zhang said that following efforts to help Ukrainians leave Mariupol, a southern city besieged by Russian forces, all parties should establish a broader and more efficient means of coordinating humanitarian efforts to ensure smooth evacuations.
“We call on the international community to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and work together to effectively regulate and contain the negative spillover effects of the Ukraine conflict,” he said.
Zhang urged the international community to create conditions for the Russia-Ukraine negotiations. The ambassador said the two parties had “built some groundwork” from prior talks, adding that any attempt to benefit from aggravating the conflict would backfire.
He also warned that “all-dimensional and indiscriminate” sanctions subjected people in all countries, especially developing countries, to higher food prices, oil prices and other hefty costs.
“Arbitrary seizure and freezing of foreign exchange reserves of other countries is tantamount to weaponising economic interdependence, which is bringing more uncertainties and perils to the world economy and international relations,” the ambassador said.
Zhang called on the international community to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and work together to regulate and contain the negative effects spilling over from the Ukraine conflict. He said that a lesson learned from the Ukraine crisis was that it was not reasonable or operable to base one country’s security on the insecurity of other countries.
“NATO’s repeated eastward expansion after the Cold War has not only failed to make Europe any safer, but also sowed the seeds of conflict,” he said.
“Contrary to its claim to be an organisation defensive in nature, NATO has wantonly launched wars against sovereign countries, causing colossal casualties and humanitarian disasters.”
Zhang referred to the three Chinese journalists killed and more than 20 Chinese diplomats wounded when NATO fired precision-guided missiles at the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia on May 7, 1999.
“The Chinese people will never forget this barbaric atrocity, and will never allow such history to repeat itself,” the ambassador said. He said NATO should naturally size up a situation and make necessary adjustments.
Zhang said the bloc had been “clinging to the anachronistic doctrine of security … keen to provoke bloc confrontations and create tensions in Europe, and even the Asia-Pacific region and the wider world”, a position China firmly opposed.
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