BEIJING: Ahead of the first Quad summit, China on Friday said that state-to-state exchanges and cooperation should enhance mutual understanding and trust instead of “targeting” or “undermining” the interests of any third party and hoped that relevant countries will refrain from forming “exclusive cliques”.
US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attended the virtual summit, which is the first conclave of the top leaders of the Quadrilateral alliance, on Friday.
Known as the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue,” representatives for the four-member nations have met periodically since its establishment in 2007.
Asked for China’s reaction to the Quad conclave, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that state-to-state exchanges and cooperation should “help enhance mutual understanding and trust among regional countries, instead of targeting against or undermining the interests of any third party”.
“We hope relevant countries will follow the principles of openness, inclusiveness and win-win results, refrain from forming closed and exclusive “cliques” and act in a way that is conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity,” Zhao said.
During the virtual meeting, the four leaders are expected to lay out their vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, amidst China flexing its muscles in the strategically-vital region.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.
Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims. In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers. The US has been favouring making Quad a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.