Li made this plea during an ASEAN-plus-three meeting with Japan and South Korea in Jakarta. His remarks were seen as a veiled reference to the United States and its efforts to build regional alliances in China’s vicinity.
Li acknowledged that disagreements and disputes among countries can emerge due to various factors, including misperceptions, divergent interests, or external influences.
To maintain stability and peace, he emphasized the importance of resisting alliances, bloc confrontations, and the initiation of a new Cold War.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is currently hosting summits with China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Canada.
These meetings provide a platform for major powers to engage with ASEAN and for their rivalries to unfold.
Li’s statement followed Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu’s warning in June against establishing NATO-like alliances in the Asia-Pacific region.
Tensions have risen over the creation of the AUKUS defense partnership (including the US, Australia, and Britain) and the Quad alliance (including the US, Australia, India, and Japan).
These groupings are seen as countermeasures to China’s growing influence.
The discussions in Jakarta precede the East Asia Summit and the G20 summit, where geopolitics are expected to take center stage.
During her meetings, Harris commended ASEAN’s commitment to international rules, norms, and regional issues.
She announced the establishment of the first US-ASEAN center in Washington, signaling increased US engagement in the region.
The talks included discussions on various issues, including the Fukushima nuclear plant’s treated wastewater release.
Host Indonesia assured ASEAN leaders that the bloc would not become a battleground for major power competition.
This declaration followed ongoing US-China tensions related to Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the situation in Ukraine.
In addition to discussing North Korea, the leaders also addressed China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, which have drawn strong criticism from multiple ASEAN nations, as well as Japan.
While concerns were expressed over activities in the South China Sea, experts suggested that ASEAN leaders would avoid confronting China directly to prevent damaging their relationships with major powers.
Aleksius Jemadu, a foreign affairs expert at Indonesia’s Pelita Harapan University, explained that ASEAN leaders would be cautious not to jeopardize their connections with these influential nations.