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China asks India, U.S., Japan to ensure naval drills will be ‘helpful’ to peace in the region

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei   | Photo Credit: Andy Wong

As India, the United States and Japan on Thursday kicked off rare three-way naval exercises, China has called on the three countries to ensure that the “Malabar” drills in the Pacific Ocean would be “helpful to build mutual trust” in a region grappling with renewed maritime tensions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, in exclusive comments to The Hindu, on Friday said that ensuring that the Asia-Pacific region was “harmonious and stable” was “based on mutual trust” and required “all sides to make efforts,” when asked about the trilateral exercises.

“We have noticed the relevant moves, and we hope that the actions by the relevant countries can move in this direction and should be helpful to build mutual trust among these countries and regional peace and stability,” Mr. Hong said in a written reply.

China actively promotes a concept of sustainable security in Asia: Hong

This year, India for the first time in more than five years agreed to a long-pending Japanese request to participate in the India-U.S. “Malabar” naval exercises. The perception among some observers was that the previous government in New Delhi had been reluctant to include Japan as it did not want the drills to be seen as being aimed at containing China, although the invitation to Japan was finally extended during the final months of the UPA government's second term.

India has, at the same time, made clear in numerous recent meetings with the Chinese leadership that it followed an independent foreign policy and would not be involved in any attempts to contain China or any other country.

Chinese leaders and State media have, in recent months, made it a point to frequently praise India’s stated policy of strategic independence amid increasing debate in China on the U.S. “pivot” or rebalancing to strengthen military ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr. Hong said China “actively promotes” a “concept of sustainable security in Asia” involving “common security.” “A harmonious and stable Asia-Pacific region which is based on mutual trust among all the countries is in line with the common interests of all countries in this region, but at the same time it also requires all sides to make efforts,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 12:30:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/china-asks-india-us-japan-to-ensure-naval-drills-will-be-helpful-to-peace-in-the-region/article6250246.ece

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