Putin accuses U.S. of fanning Asia tension with Taiwan visit, AUKUS pact

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony opening the international military-technical forum Army-2022 at Patriot Congress and Exhibition Centre in the Moscow region, Russia August 15, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Tuesday of whipping up tensions in Asia, describing a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a "thoroughly planned provocation".

In a speech to a Moscow security conference, Putin also cited the AUKUS security pact between Australia, Britain and the United States as evidence of Western attempts to build a NATO-style bloc in the Asia-Pacific region.

His comments formed part of a narrative that Moscow is energetically pushing as it seeks to justify its war in Ukraine and build new global alliances to counter what Putin called Western hegemony and neo-colonialism.

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While Western governments have condemned the invasion as an imperial land grab and united in imposing waves of sanctions on Moscow, Russia is actively courting countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with the prospect of closer trade ties, arms sales and a vision of a new "multipolar world order".

Speaker Pelosi's visit this month to Taiwan, which China claims as its own, was "not just a trip by a single irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, conscious U.S. strategy to destabilize and sow chaos in the region and the world", Putin said.

"We also see that the collective West is seeking to extend its bloc system to the Asia-Pacific region by analogy with NATO in Europe. For this purpose, aggressive military-political alliances are being formed, such as AUKUS and others."

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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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