China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday accused the United States of trying to build an “Indo-Pacific NATO” using the Quad and its allies, and said “some forces” were seeking to “stoke tensions” between China and India as well as “sow discord” between China and Russia. Mr. Wang, in his annual press conference along the sidelines of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) or Parliament in Beijing, also described China-Russia relations as “one of the most crucial bilateral relations in the world” and as being “rock solid”. Underlining China’s position on the Ukraine crisis that while sovereignty needed to be respected, so did the legitimate security concerns of Russia, Mr. Wang declined to term Russia’s attack “an invasion” when asked by a reporter. “We are determined that the relationship is free from interference and discord sown by third parties,” he said. He equated the U.S., Australia, India, Japan Quad grouping with the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance involving the Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and U.K. and the AUKUS (Australia-U.K.-U.S.) defence pact. “The U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is becoming a byword for bloc politics,” he said. “It professes desire for international cooperation, but in reality is stoking regional rivalry. It talks multilateralism but in reality creates exclusive clubs. It claims international rules but in reality is setting and imposing rules suiting itself and its acolytes.” “From strengthening the Five Eyes and peddling the Quad to putting together the AUKUS security partnership and tightening bilateral military alliances,” he said, “the U.S. is staging a ‘5432’ posture in the Asia Pacific.” “It is by no means a blessing but a sinister move,” he said. “The real goal for the Indo-Pacific strategy is to establish an Indo-Pacific version of NATO…. These perverse actions run counter to common aspirations of the region and are doomed to fail.” The members of the Quad have rejected the notion that it is an Asian NATO or a military alliance, and pointed to its broad-based cooperation, including on vaccines and technology, besides maritime security. On the NATO comparison, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar last month said “there are interested parties who advance that kind of analogies”.
“I would urge you not to slip into that lazy analogy of an Asian-NATO,” he said of the comparison, pointing out India was not a treaty ally of the U.S. “We are not a treaty ally. It doesn’t have a treaty, a structure, a secretariat, it’s a kind of 21st century way of responding to a more diversified, dispersed world.”