Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang on Tuesday accused the US of trying to provoke confrontation in Asia by plotting an Asia-Pacific version of Nato through the Quad, of which India is a part.
He warned against any attempt to engineer a “Ukraine like crisis” in the region.
Qin was responding to a question on the Quad — a grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia — at a news conference in Beijing. He kept his guns trained at Washington, asserting that its real purpose was to encircle China.
“The US Indo-Pacific strategy — while purportedly aims at upholding freedom and openness, maintaining security and promoting prosperity in the region — is, in fact, an attempt to gang up to form exclusive blocs to provoke confrontation by plotting an Asia-Pacific version of Nato and to undermine regional integration through decoupling and cutting chains,” Qin said.
“The US claim to shape the strategic environment in which China operates actually reveals the real purpose of its Indo-Pacific strategy — that is, to encircle China. Such an attempt will only disrupt the Asean-centred open and inclusive regional cooperation architecture and undermine the overall and long-term interests of regional countries. It is bound to fail.”
Without naming any country, Qin pointed to voices from the region warning against anew Cold War being played out in the Indo-Pacific between the US and China.
Asean is divided, with some member countries more sympathetic to the US while others support the Chinese position on various issues. Indonesian President Joko Widodo— who currently chairs Asean— had last month stressed that “Asean should not be a proxy for any party”.
Qin, dwelling on the Quad, said: “Recently, I have noticed that leaders of a number of regional countries have stated that Asean should not be a proxy for any party and should stay clear from big power rivalry.
“As a pace-setter in global development, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region should be a stage for win-win cooperation rather than a chessboard for geopolitical contest. No Cold War should be reignited and no Ukraine-style crisis should be repeated in Asia. “As to who to rely on in terms of security and economy, I believe it is necessary to stand together in face of difficulties, jointly pursue security and development and work together to build closer community and shared future in the neighbourhood.”