China accused NATO of causing conflict and humanitarian crises worldwide as the country commemorates the anniversary of the NATO missile attack that struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on May 7, 1999.
"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," Chinese Ambassador to the U.N. Zhang Jun said during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday.
"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," he added.
Zhang made his remarks during a meeting discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as he called for a peaceful resolution and ways to minimize the impact of the war, the South China Morning Post reported.
Zhang added that NATO has 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."
He also referred to the 1999 incident, recalling the three Chinese journalists who died and the more than 20 Chinese diplomats who were injured after NATO fired missiles that struck the Chinese Embassy.
NATO said it was not intentional and occurred during the missile strike in Yugoslavia, the Associated Press reported, but the Beijing government never accepted the claim.
"The Chinese people will never forget this barbaric atrocity, and will never allow such history to repeat itself," Zhang said.
Other Chinese officials have criticized NATO amid the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, including Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who repeated claims that the bloc is responsible for the instability in Europe.
"For some time, the NATO head has disregarded facts and confounded black with white when making groundless accusations, smears and attacks against China," Zhao said in April after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg criticized China for not condemning the war in Ukraine and described Beijing's position as a "serious challenge" to the alliance.
"He has made irresponsible comments on China's foreign policies, touted the 'China threat' and even used coercion on China recently," Zhao said in an apparent reference to Stoltenberg.
"NATO should immediately stop spreading disinformation and provocative remarks targeting China, and abandon the confrontational approach of drawing ideological lines," he added. "NATO has disrupted Europe. It should stop trying to destabilize Asia and the whole world."
Newsweek reached out to NATO's press office for comment.