China slams upcoming Quad summit
By K J M Varma
Beijing: China on Tuesday hit out at the upcoming first-ever Quad summit to be hosted by US President Joe Biden, saying the formation of “exclusive cliques” targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and is “doomed to fail”.
President Biden would host the first in-person Quad summit on September 24 in Washington which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga.
Asked for his comment on the upcoming Quad summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that cooperation between the countries should not target third parties.
“It is China’s consistent belief that any regional cooperation mechanism should follow the trend of peace and development, and help promote mutual trust and cooperation among regional countries rather than target a third party or undermine its interests,” Zhao said.
“Forming closed and exclusive ‘cliques’ targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and deviates from the expectation of regional countries. It thus wins no support and is doomed to fail,” he said.
China is not only a major engine of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific, but also a staunch defender of regional peace and stability, he said.
“China’s development is a force for world peace and a boon for regional prosperity and development. Relevant countries should discard the outdated zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception, view China’s development correctly and respect people’s aspiration in the region and do more that is conducive to solidarity and cooperation of regional countries,” he said.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a subtle message to China.
The Quad summit will take place amidst China’s aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich South China Sea.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.