A general view of the central financial district, in Hong Kong, China. (REUTERS)
A general view of the central financial district, in Hong Kong, China. (REUTERS)

Quad an exclusive ‘clique’, working against China: Foreign ministry

China has indirectly criticised India for being part of the Quad, which includes the US, Japan, and Australia
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
UPDATED ON MAY 12, 2021 06:52 PM IST

The four-member Quad is an exclusive clique rallying countries to work against China, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday a day after Dhaka criticised Beijing for saying any engagement with the bloc would damage ties with Bangladesh.

The ministry indirectly criticised India for being part of the Quad, which includes the US, Japan, and Australia, and said New Delhi knows better what the group is all about.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, was quoted by local media as saying that the remarks of the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka, Li Jiming, mentioning the likelihood of substantial damage to the relations between China and Bangladesh were “…very unfortunate and aggressive”.

Li had said on Monday that Bangladesh’s engagement in the US-led Indo-Pacific strategy would substantially damage Dhaka’s relations with Beijing.

It could not be immediately ascertained whether Bangladesh had been approached by any Quad member to join the bloc.

The Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Hua Chunying did not respond to Momen’s comments directly but described the Quad as a clique out to harm China.

“I haven’t seen any reports on this issue (Momen’s comments) you mentioned. China and Bangladesh are very good neighbours, developing bilateral relations based on mutual trust and peaceful co-existence, and have been firmly supporting each other,” she said.

“About Chinese ambassador’s remarks on the Quad which involve Japan, US, India, and Australia, we have made our position clear on this issue. We believe it is an exclusive clique against China and trying to rally countries around China to work against China. So, I believe you understand our position very clearly,” Hua added.

When pressed to respond about China’s narrative on not interfering in any other country’s internal affairs in context of ambassador Li’s statement, she said China always treats other countries despite their sizes as equals.

“We always follow the peaceful coexistence principle in developing bilateral rations and we always support each other, and it is not China who has been interfering in others’ internal affairs.”

“We follow the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs, it is what we have been doing. And India knows better than us about this Quad, what’s the true intention of Quad, is it trying to exclude China, to target against China. If so, then it is not about interference, it is about expressing opposition about this Quad group. Also express the hope that it will stop doing so,” Hua said.

In March, responding to the first Quad leaders’ summit, China had said the Quad “will end up nowhere” if it does not abandon its ideological bias and cold war mentality, underscoring its opposition to the bloc.

Beijing had then described the Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, as a clique based on an ideology which, it said, “detrimental to the international order”.

The summit, attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden, and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, was closely monitored and critiqued by Beijing.

The consensus in Beijing was that the four countries came together to counter China’s increasing influence and muscle-flexing in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region.

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