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Published On: Mon, Nov 13th, 2017

China questions exclusion from Indo-Pacific group of India

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638247-indo-pacific700BAIJING : Skirting any direct response to the first quadrilateral meeting of India, US, Japan and Australia, China on Monday questioned its exclusion from the group. At the same time, it expressed hope that the new concept of ‘Indo-Pacific’ is not directed against it.

“The relevant proposals should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding the relevant parties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing. He was answering a spate of questions on the Indo-Pacific concept and the quadrilateral meeting held yesterday in Manila.

Asked whether he meant “exclusion of the relevant parties” referred to omission of China, Geng said China welcomes the development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries. “We hope this kind of relations will not be directed at a third party and conducive to the regional peace and stability. This is the general concept and I think this kind of position applies to any proposal,” he said, PTI reported.

Responding to a question about persistent references of Indo-Pacific by the US and Japan saying that they want to establish leaders’ dialogue mechanism between India, US, Japan and Australia and Tokyo’s willingness to conduct cooperation with China under the new concept, Geng said China has noted the Japanese statement in this regard.

“Promoting the stability and the development of the Asia Pacific region is the common responsibility of the regional countries. We hope the policies made and the action taken by the relevant parties can correspond with the trend of times featuring, peace, cooperation, friendship and development and can be conducive to upholding peace, prosperity and stability,” he said.
Asked how China viewed the Indo-Pacific concept, Geng said peace and win-win cooperation is the trend of the times. “It is also the trend of the world. The development of Any country, any region should correspond with the trend of the times and trend of the world,” he said. Officials from India, the US, Japan, and Australia on Sunday held extensive talks to pursue common interests in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region.
In the meeting, seen as the first major move in the formation of the quadrilateral security dialogue or ‘quad’, the officials deliberated on evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region besides delving into effectively combating the threat of terrorism and other security challenges. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement that the consultations were held on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on cooperation based on converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area.
“Officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and United State’s Department of State met in Manila on November 12, 2017 for consultations on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region. The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners.

They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity. The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.”The move is seen as counter to China’s aggressive behaviour in the area.
Meanwhile, a senior White House official had said earlier that “we have strong and growing ties with India. We talk about ‘Indo- Pacific’ in part because that phrase captures the importance of India’s rise”.And the strategy is “certainly not” to contain China, he had added. Indo-Pacific broadly refers to the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions, which also includes the disputed South China Sea where Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei question China’s claims over almost the entire waterway.
The Indo-Pacific concept has figured prominently during the recent visit by President Donald Trump to the region including to Japan and China.
(With PTI inputs)

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