China’s Wang Yi slams U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy ahead of Quad meet

Following talks in Guangzhou, China, Pakistan Foreign Ministers call for ‘all outstanding disputes’ in South Asia to be addressed

Published - May 22, 2022 08:54 pm IST - Hong Kong

File photo of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

File photo of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. | Photo Credit: AP

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the India, U.S., Australia and Japan Quad grouping in Tokyo, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has hit out at the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and accused Washington of trying to sow discord in the region.

Speaking to reporters following talks on Sunday with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Mr. Wang said the strategy was “concocted by the United States under the banner of ‘freedom and openness’” and Washington was “keen to gang up with ‘small circles’ and change China’s neighbourhood environment.”

His comments came just ahead of Tuesday’s Quad meet in Tokyo to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some Chinese officials have called the group a “small circle” and part of an attempt to create “an Asian NATO”, a charge that its members have rejected pointing to the group’s varying cooperation and India not being a treaty ally of the U.S..

Mr. Wang also took aim at the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) set to be unveiled by U.S. President Joe Biden in Tokyo on Monday. Mr. Wang asked if the framework was “a political tool for the U.S. to maintain regional economic hegemony and deliberately exclude specific countries”. “Is the U.S. politicising, weaponising, and ideologising economic issues and using economic means to coerce regional countries to choose sides between China and the U.S.?” he said to reporters, adding that “attempts to create camps, a NATO or Cold War in the Asia-Pacific will not succeed.”

In the Guangzhou talks, China and Pakistan called for “all outstanding disputes” in South Asia to be addressed and proposed extending the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project to Afghanistan. A joint statement said “it is critical to resolve all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation” given on-going challenges such as “the global pandemic, soaring commodity prices, climate change and poverty.”

The joint statement did not specify which disputes, but did add that the Pakistani Foreign Minister “briefed the Chinese side about the latest developments in Jammu & Kashmir” and “the two sides underlined the importance of the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”

The talks also discussed on-going Chinese projects in Pakistan and safety issues in the wake of last month’s attack on a Confucius Institute in Karachi which killed three Chinese teachers and was claimed by a Baloch group. Both sides discussed ways to beef up security, officials said.

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