© Vladimir Smirnov/SputnikRussian President Vladimir Putin
The Russian president has called for "reliable security architecture" in the region.

NATO's new focus on the Asia-Pacific is not only a security threat to all countries in the region, but is to Russia as well and Moscow is obliged to respond, President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday.

The Russian leader was speaking at a press conference after meetings with his Vietnamese counterpart To Lam in Hanoi, a day after signing a strategic partnership treaty with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

Putin said:
"We see what's happening in Asia, right? A bloc system is being put together... NATO is already moving there as if to a permanent place of residence. This, of course, poses a threat to all countries in the region, including the Russian Federation. We are obliged to respond to this and we will do so."
In Vietnam Putin announced:
"Moscow and Hanoi showed a mutual interest in building a reliable and adequate regional security architecture based on the principles of the non-use of force and a peaceful settlement of disputes, in which there will be no place for selective military-political blocs. The positions of Russia and Vietnam on these issues largely coincide or are close to each other.

"Global developments mean that strengthening cooperation with partners is a priority, especially in those areas that we consider important, including taking into account what is happening in Asia."
Russia also reserves the right to provide arms to allies, as the West claims it can arm Ukraine with impunity, and could send long-range weapons to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and other countries, Putin added.

Last month, in a thinly veiled reference to NATO and other Western-dominated organizations, Putin warned that the Asia-Pacific region is "no place for closed military and political alliances," adding that both China and Russia deem the establishment of such blocs as "harmful and counterproductive."

Back in 2021, the US, UK and Australia established the AUKUS security partnership, with the main goal of helping Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Washington is reportedly attempting to fast-track Canada and Japan's membership.

Beijing has condemned the AUKUS pact as an attempt to build an "Asia-Pacific version of NATO," with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin arguing last year:
"It is based on a Cold War mentality which will only motivate an arms race, damage the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, and harm regional stability and peace."
Earlier this year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also denounced NATO as a "walking war machine that causes chaos wherever it goes." Beijing has accused the US-led bloc of meddling in Asian affairs, branding it a "terrible monster" that has extended a "black hand" toward the region.