TOKYO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has accused China of incitement to the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, he told Japanese newspaper Yomiuri in an interview.

Russia is producing missiles and drones with the support of advanced technology imported from China, which makes Beijing accountable for instigating the largest conflict on the European soils since World War II, Stoltenberg told the Japanese newspaper.

Thus, there is a strong need to reinforce cooperation between Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand to intensify pressure on China and stabilize the region, the secretary general said.

In the event of a crisis around Taiwan, NATO will keep its status of the North American and European alliance, Stoltenberg said. He also said NATO would not be moving ahead with its earlier-announced plan to open an office in Tokyo in order to avoid provoking Beijing.

NATO does not see China as a rival but still views its behaviours as challenging the alliance’s values, interests and security, the official said.

Stoltenberg’s statement comes as the United States continues to accuse China of a rapprochement with Russia as well as to allege that Beijing has been supporting Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. China and Russia have dismissed the US’s claims and emphasized the economic nature of their bilateral relations.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last May that his country was in talks to open a NATO liaison office in Tokyo to facilitate consultations with the alliance.

The 75th NATO summit will take place from July 9-11 in Washington.

(With Inputs From Agencies)