‘Cold War mentality’: China says Quad is a ‘bloc’ for confrontation

Updated on Feb 09, 2022 05:39 PM IST

China has lashed out at the Quad foreign ministers’ meeting to be held in Melbourne on February 10-11, accusing the members including India, of driving wedges in the region and having a ‘Cold War mentality’.

United States’ secretary of state Antony Blinken waves as he disembarks from his plane in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday. Blinken will meet with Australian foreign minister Marise Payne as well as their Indian and Japanese counterparts who form the so-called ‘Quad’. (AP)
United States’ secretary of state Antony Blinken waves as he disembarks from his plane in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday. Blinken will meet with Australian foreign minister Marise Payne as well as their Indian and Japanese counterparts who form the so-called ‘Quad’. (AP)
BySutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda

China on Wednesday lashed out at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) foreign ministers’ meeting to be held in Melbourne on February 10-11, accusing the members including India, of driving wedges in the region and having a “Cold War mentality”.

Opposing the Quad in strong words, the Chinese foreign ministry said as a “bloc”, it was trying to trigger confrontation unlike China, which stands for peace and development.

The ministry accused the US of forming “blocs” and attempting to force its “style” of democracy.

Beijing had earlier denounced the Quad as a Cold War construct and a clique “targeting other countries”.

Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar will join his counterparts from Australia, Japan and the US for a meeting under the Quad mechanism in Melbourne on February 10-11; the meeting is expected to set the agenda for the Quad leaders’ summit in Japan later this year.

It will be the fourth such ministerial-level meeting of the bloc of Indo-Pacific democracies.

The leaders of the four countries had met in a September summit, which was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asked to comment on reports that said the summit will discuss ways to counter China’s challenge, Chinese foreign ministry’s Zhao Lijian launched a lengthy attack on the Quad, especially the US. “The US has long lost its reputation as a democracy. However, it is still trying to force other countries to accept US-style democratic standards. The US is drawing a line along democratic values, and putting together small blocs. This is a complete betrayal of democratic values,” Zhao said.

“We oppose exclusive blocs to create bloc confrontation,” he said.

“China seeks peace, development, and cooperation. We advance the building of an Asia-Pacific security system that is open, inclusive, and not targeting any third country,” he added.

“We hope that the US and relevant countries can get a clear picture of the situation, feel relaxed, abandon the Cold War mentality, stop driving wedges between regional countries and contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity,” the spokesperson added.

The consensus in Beijing is that the four countries came together to counter China’s increasing influence and to flex their diplomatic muscle in the dispute-ridden South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region.

In November 2017, New Delhi, Tokyo, Washington, and Canberra gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a coordinated strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific maritime region free of any influence.

In 2018, Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi had described the Quad as “...seafoam in the Pacific or the Indian Ocean: they may get some attention, but soon will dissipate”.

By 2020, Wang came around to acknowledge that the Quad had become a “security threat” and a so-called Indo-Pacific “New Nato”.

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