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Published: 20:52, September 27, 2023 | Updated: 22:00, September 27, 2023
US slammed for making 2023 'extremely dangerous'
By Jan Yumul in Hong Kong
Published:20:52, September 27, 2023 Updated:22:00, September 27, 2023 By Jan Yumul in Hong Kong

This file photo dated March 28, 2022 shows the Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The United States-led NATO expansion and confrontational attitude was called out for posing a serious risk to Asia as the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) came to a close in New York on Sept 26.

Representatives from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the Syrian Arab Republic blamed the US for its geopolitical and selfish interests, which have led to destabilization and insecurity, as well as exploitation of Syria’s natural resources. 

Kim also called for reforms of the “West-led irrational structure” of the UN Security Council to prevent the “high-handedness and arbitrariness” of forces within the body, including the US

During his speech, Kim Song, DPRK’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, accused Washington of trying to create “the Asian version of NATO”. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 in response to the emerging Cold War. The military bloc includes European nations, the US and Canada.

READ MORE: NATO plan for Japan office can endanger Asia-Pacific stability

He said the US had made 2023 “an extremely dangerous year” by trying to provoke a nuclear war.  He denounced leaders from both the US and Republic of Korea for their “hysterical remarks” of confrontation like “end of the regime” and “occupation of Pyongyang”.

“The DPRK remains steadfast and unchanged in its determination to firmly defend the national sovereignty, security interests and well-being of the people against the hostile threats from outside,” Kim said. 

Kim also called for reforms of the “West-led irrational structure” of the UN Security Council to prevent the “high-handedness and arbitrariness” of forces within the body, including the US. He said representation of developing countries that make up the UN’s absolute majority, must be expanded and strengthened.

Lakhvinder Singh, director of the peace program at the Asia Institute, a Seoul-based think tank, told China Daily that he strongly agreed with Kim’s view that “the Security Council needs to be reformed and Asian countries must be given due representation in the decision-making process”. 

“So far, Western countries have mainly used it to promote their own narrow national interests,” Singh said.

Syrian Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Bassam Sabbagh told the Assembly that the “policies of creative chaos” adopted by successive US administrations “in our region to serve their geopolitical and selfish interests” have “led to destabilization and insecurity”.  

He noted that the US had spent billions of dollars to demolish and destroy development achievements made over decades, and contributed to the emergence of a phenomenon of extremism and terrorism.  

Furkan Halit Yolcu, a researcher at Sakarya University Middle East Institute in Turkiye, told China Daily that the US wanted to establish a power vacuum in northern Syria to control the oil exploitation in Deir az-Zoor.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, said the days when a few nations set the global agenda and “expected others to fall in line” are over

The US formulated a state-like entity “that will ensure the longevity of this vacuum and it succeeded”. But he said the US “failed to reach a peaceful state in the Syrian war”, the main cause of US presence. 

Sabbagh blamed the “systematic American plunder” of the Syrian people’s national wealth, such as oil and gas, that has deprived his country of its resources. 

He lamented that the total value of direct and indirect losses to the oil sector in Syria had exceeded $150 billion, and urged the UN “to hold these states accountable”, as he called for the return of “looted money to Damascus”.

Jawaid Iqbal, chairman of the Department of West Asian and North African Studies at Aligarh Muslim University in India, told China Daily that the speeches at the UNGA by Syria and DPRK “unveil the dark underbelly of the US-centric international 'rules-based' order”.

US unipolarity, he said, has been marked by the American empire's violent military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yugoslavia. 

“Beyond military actions, the US wages an economic warfare through unilateral sanctions imposed on countries like China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, and others. Thus, the recent speeches highlight how American power is directly equivalent to a strategy of destabilisation,” said Iqbal.

The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea. 

Arhama Siddiqa, a research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad in Pakistan, told China Daily that the recurring pattern observed across the Middle East “underscores a troubling trend” –  external interventions often result in widespread chaos, with little consideration for the ensuing humanitarian crises, leaving neighboring nations “burdened with the fallout”.

Those advocating for corrective measures, Siddqa said, often find themselves facing significant constraints. What is urgently required, she added, is a heightened sense of accountability—a willingness to shoulder responsibility for the consequences of interventions.

“How the US intervention in the Middle East, particularly in the case of Syria, has often been perceived as a manifestation of a confrontational foreign policy posture, is one that has raised concerns about regional stability and the well-being of Asian countries.

READ MORE: US-Japan-ROK becoming 'mini-NATO', could worsen rift

“This assertive approach has contributed to a climate of heightened tensions and insecurity in the region,” said Siddiqa.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, said the days when a few nations set the global agenda and “expected others to fall in line” are over. He noted there were still a few nations “who shaped the agenda and seek to define the norms” and that this “cannot go on indefinitely nor will it go unchallenged”.

Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, denounced the aggressive, interventionist, arbitrary and unjust policies that use unilateral, illegal, illegitimate, destabilizing and destructive warlike methods to impose changes of governments.

Yang Han in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

Contact the writer at jan@chinadailyapac.com

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