Beijing has been closely following the recent Quad summit in Washington, with a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson suggesting the group of four nations — including Australia, Japan, India and the USA — have been ‘inciting’ a China threat theory.
Speaking from the People’s Republic of China embassy in Australia on Wednesday, embassy official Hua Chunying said the efforts of the Quad nations were to drive a wedge between other regional countries and China.
“Facts have long proved that China is a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order and a provider of public goods,” Chunying said, suggesting that Chinese strength was a ‘blessing for regional prosperity and development’.
“China cannot be accused of ‘coercion’ or ‘disruption of order’.”
Chunying added that Beijing was firmly opposed to any accusation that the nation threw its weight around on the international stage by either ‘coercion’ or the ‘disruption of order’.
The Chinese ministry spokesperson went on to dismiss the Quad nations’ reference to upholding what she said was the so-called ‘rules-based order’ and claimed the US was only interested in installing a world order where it ‘wantonly smears, coerces and interferes in other countries without paying any price’.
US president Joe Biden’s preference for how the international community should work together was one-sided, she suggested.
“It is an order in which US hegemony and bullying prevail, while the whole world grovels to the US,” Chunying said.
“It is unpopular and will never succeed.”
It was an honor to host the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit. We’re committed to our partnership and to an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, and resilient. pic.twitter.com/W2HL58Jc0j
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 28, 2021
Quad leaders met in Washington last Friday, with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison remarking during a press conference that the ‘very practical group’ was focused on demonstrating how democracies achieved things for their citizens and the region. One example of the group’s efforts was to support Fiji’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
“Fiji [is a] small island in the Pacific, but the Quad can see to that need and delivering those vaccines in Fiji has really turned that country around and they’ll be opening up soon,” Morrison said.
Australia’s role supporting the critical minerals needs of Quad nations to produce ‘technologies of the future’ was another benefit of the alliance, the pm said.
“Australia is one of the biggest producers, but we believe we can play a bigger role in a critical supply chain […] and connecting up with the manufacturing and processing capabilities and end users in the United States and India and in Japan, as well,” Morrison said.
“The Quad is all about positively contributing to the economic development, the prosperity and the stability of the region and very practical discussion on those items.
“We’re really good at digging stuff up in Australia and making sure it can fuel the rest of the world when it comes to the new energy economy,” he said.
Great to meet my good friend Japanese PM @sugawitter prior to the Quad Leaders’ Meeting. An excellent discussion on further strengthening ties, doing more with our ASEAN friends, and practical outcomes for a free and open Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/ewJFAiaEWo
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 25, 2021
According to the pm, the group of four leaders also discussed the mutual challenge of climate change and how developing nations could access clean energy, the newly minted AUKUS partnership, and security of the Indo-Pacific.
“The broader security environment in the Indo-Pacific is well known to all of us because we live with it each and every day.
“Australia has taken significant steps throughout our most recent partnership, the AUKUS partnership but that builds on our direct arrangements both with India and Japan in bilateral arrangements, training exercise, reciprocal access agreements with Japan,” Morrison said.
Back in Canberra, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said that the multilateral mechanism of the Quad represented a group who were targeting Beijing. She said the pact was nothing but a clique that was misusing its combined powers to undermine China’s interests.
“Relevant countries should abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological bias, stop forming closed and exclusive ‘cliques’ and do more to promote solidarity and cooperation among countries in the region as well as regional peace and stability,” Chunying said.
“What most countries in the world recognise and accept is the international system with the UN at its core, the international order based on international law and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, rather than the so-called ‘order’ unilaterally defined by one or few countries.”