Press Trust of india

Quad ‘exclusive clique’ against Beijing, says China; defends warning to B’desh against joining it

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Beijing, May 12 (PTI) China on Wednesday accused the Quad of being an “exclusive clique” against Beijing as it defended its Bangladesh Ambassador’s warning to Dhaka against joining the US-led alliance, saying the envoy has made the country’s position “clear” on the issue.

China’s Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming China on Monday warned Bangladesh against joining the four-nation group comprising the US, Australia, Japan and India, saying that Dhaka’s participation in the anti-Beijing “club” would result in “substantial damage” to bilateral relations.

The provocative remarks by the Ambassador was described as “very unfortunate” and “aggressive” by Bangladesh foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday.

“We are an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy,” Momen had said, adding that Bangladesh has been following a “non-aligned” and “balanced” foreign policy and the country would decide what to do in line with that principle.

Asked for her reaction to Momen’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media here that she has not seen the remarks.

“China and Bangladesh are very good neighbours. We have been developing bilateral relations based on mutual trust and peaceful co-existence, and we have been firmly supporting each other,” she said.

“About Chinese Ambassador’s remarks on the Quad which involves Japan, US, India and Australia, we have made our position clear on this issue. We believe it is an exclusive clique against China and trying to rally countries around China to work against China. So I believe you understand our position very clearly,” Hua said.

Replying to a question in the light of Momen’s assertion that Bangladesh is a sovereign country and decides its own foreign policy, how China would respond to criticism that it is aggressively pushing its stand on issues on smaller countries, Hua said Beijing always treats other countries as equals.

“About the protest from the Bangladesh foreign minister, I’m not sure what exactly the protest is and what the accurate words are. But we always treat other countries despite their sizes as equals. We always follow the peaceful coexistence principle in developing bilateral rations and we always support each other and it is not China who has been interfering in others internal affairs,” she said.

Hua said China follows the principle of non-interference in others internal affairs and has been doing it.

“India knows better than us about this Quad, what is the true intention, is it trying to exclude China to target against China. If so, then it is not about interference, it is about expressing opposition against this Quad group. Also express the hope that it will stop doing so,” she said.

Initiated in 2007, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is an informal grouping of the US, India, Australia and Japan.

China has vehemently opposed the formation of the Quad with a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman emphasising in March that exchanges and cooperation between countries should help expand mutual understanding and trust, instead of targeting or harming the interests of third parties.

The Quad member countries have resolved to uphold a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the strategically vital region.

The first summit of the Quad leaders was hosted by US President Joe Biden on March 12 and the virtual meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The four Quad leaders have vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a clear message to China against its aggressive actions in the region.

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