BEIJING: Ahead of Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Friday, China said on Wednesday that it was opposed to “exclusive blocs” to create bloc confrontation and the four-nation alliance should stop driving wedges between regional countries.
In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan 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, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region. “We oppose exclusive blocs to create bloc confrontation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here while answering a question on the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the Quad – the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprising the United States, India, Japan and Australia in Melbourne on Friday.
“We hope that the US and relevant countries can get a clear picture of the situation, feel relaxed, abandon the Cold War mentality, stop driving wedges between regional countries and contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity,” he said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will participate in the fourth Quad foreign ministers’ meeting on February 11 in Melbourne along with his counterparts from Australia, Japan and the US.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in New Delhi that it will be an opportunity for the ministers to follow up on their virtual meeting held in February last year and exchange views on regional strategic issues given their shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The MEA in a statement issued on Wednesday said, “the ministers will review ongoing Quad cooperation and build on the positive and constructive agenda announced by the leaders at the two summits in 2021, to address contemporary challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains, critical technologies, climate change, infrastructure etc.”
Asked about the reported remarks by US Assistant Secretary Daniel J Kritenbrink that Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Melbourne will discuss ways to counter challenges posed by China to democratic values and international order, Zhao attacked the US, questioning its democratic credentials. “Democracy is a common value of humanity, not a patent claimed by a few countries. Whether a country is democratic or not should be judged by its own people. The US has long lost its reputation as a democracy. However, it is still trying to force other countries to accept its US-style democratic standards,” he said.