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China’s Foreign Minister says U.S. using Quad to build ‘Indo-Pacific NATO’

File photo: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.   | Photo Credit: Andy Wong

In China’s most high-profile criticism so far on the Quad, its Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday said Washington was aiming to build an “Indo-Pacific NATO” that would be founded on the U.S., India, Japan and Australia grouping

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Mr. Wang’s remarks, during a visit to Malaysia, underline how Chinese officials, who once sought to downplay the Quad as an overhyped idea are now highlighting it prominently, describing it as part of a broader American effort in the region to “contain” China, as ties continue to worsen between Beijing and Washington.

In 2018, Mr. Wang dismissed the then recently-revived Quad and the Indo-Pacific concept as a “headline-grabbing idea” that would “dissipate like sea foam”

Mr. Wang’s visit to Malaysia is the second stop of his five-nation tour to southeast Asia. He arrived there following a visit to Cambodia, and will later travel to Laos and Thailand, and stop in Singapore.

“In essence, [the Indo-Pacific strategy] aims to build a so-called Indo-Pacific NATO underpinned by the quadrilateral mechanism involving the United States, Japan, India and Australia,” he said, reported the South China Morning Post.

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“What it pursues is to trumpet the Cold War mentality and to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition. What it maintains is the dominance and hegemonic system of the United States,” he observed.

“In this sense, this strategy is itself a big underlying security risk. If it is forced forward, it will wind back the clock of history,” he added.

The Tokyo meeting

Last week, following the October 6 Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo, China said it was opposed to “organising closed and exclusive cliques”.

At the Tokyo meet, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singled out China as a threat to the region, although the three other foreign ministers, including External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, did not directly mention China. They did, however, express broad concerns about maintaining a rules-based order, freedom of navigation and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the region.

“As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the Chinese Communist Party’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We’ve seen it in the South China Sea, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits. These are just a few examples.”

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 10:57:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-fm-calls-us-indo-pacific-strategy-a-huge-security-risk/article32844084.ece

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