China on Friday renewed its criticism of the Quad grouping comprising the US, India, Australia and Japan, saying that state-to-state cooperation should be consistent with the trend of peace and development, rather than putting up "exclusionary blocs." The Quad foreign ministers carried out a comprehensive review of the situation in the Indo-Pacific at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday. Presided over by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the meeting was attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australian foreign minister Penny Wong.
The meeting came against the backdrop of growing global concerns over increasing Chinese assertiveness in the strategically-vital region.
A joint statement issued after the meeting reaffirmed the four-nation grouping's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and said it strongly supports the principles of rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Responding to the Quad statement at a media briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China has stated its position on QUAD on multiple occasions.
"We believe that state-to-state cooperation needs to be consistent with the trend of peace and development, rather than be about putting up exclusionary blocs," she said.
"We hope certain countries can do more things that contribute to security and mutual trust between regional countries and that help to maintain regional peace and stability," Mao said, reaffirming Beijing's oft-repeated opposition to the Quad that it is an exclusive bloc aimed at containing China's rise.
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.
US President Joe Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format in March 2021 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.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square miles of the 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.
On China’s reluctance, along with Russia, to endorse a joint statement on the Ukraine war at the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, spokesperson Mao said G20 is a premier forum for international economic cooperation.
The G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi was unable to come out with a joint communique due to a bitterly increasing rift between the US-led Western powers and Russia over the Ukraine conflict despite consistent efforts by host India to bridge the differences.
"The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. Leaders of member states made it clear in the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration last year that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues," Mao said.
China believes that the G20 should work to follow through on the leaders’ consensus, focus on its mandate and main function, and contribute to promoting stable, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, she added.
"We also noted that G20 members have varying views on the Ukraine issue. We hope that G20 members will respect each other’s concerns and send a message of solidarity and cooperation instead of division and mutual recrimination," she added.
About China’s views on the outcome of the New Delhi meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers, she said: It was an important event, especially considering the uncertainties and challenges facing today’s world.
"China hopes that the G20 will demonstrate its sense of responsibility and contribute to global development and prosperity," she added.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang took part in the meeting.
The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies.
The members represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union.
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