Defence Minister Li Shangfu on Sunday told the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore that any moves to establish Nato-like military alliances in the Asia-Pacific would plunge the region into a "whirlpool" of conflict.
"Attempts to push for Nato-like (alliances) in the Asia-Pacific is a way of kidnapping regional countries and exaggerating conflicts and confrontations," Li told the summit also attended by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Li said these alliances would "plunge the Asia-Pacific into a whirlpool of disputes and conflicts".
"Today's Asia-Pacific needs open and inclusive cooperation, not buddying up into small cliques," the defence minister added.
Li said conflict with the US would be an "unbearable disaster" but that his country seeks dialogue over confrontation.
"China and the US have different systems and are different in many other ways," he said.
"However, this should not keep the two sides from seeking common ground and common interests to grow bilateral ties and deepen cooperation... It is undeniable that a severe conflict or confrontation between China and the US will be an unbearable disaster for the world."
Meanwhile, Li defended China sailing a warship across the path of an American destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait, saying such so-called “freedom of navigation” patrols are a provocation to China.
He said Beijing doesn't have any problems with “innocent passage” but that “we must prevent attempts that try to use those freedom of navigation (patrols), that innocent passage, to exercise hegemony of navigation.”
On Taiwan, he called it “the core of our core interests” and accused the US and others of meddling in China’s internal affairs by providing the island with defence support and training. (Agencies)