BEIJING: Ahead of the first in-person Quad summit among the leaders of the US, India, Japan and Australia in Washington, China on Friday criticised the grouping, saying the formation of exclusive closed cliques runs against the trend of times and will find no support.
At the invitation of US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterparts Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan have gathered in the American capital for the first-ever in-person Quad summit at the White House on Friday.
Asked for China's reaction as the Quad summit is expected to address the challenges and rising risks Beijing poses in the Indo-Pacific region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the media that the quadrilateral grouping should not target any third country and its interests.
China always believes that any regional cooperation mechanism should not target a third party or harm its interests. Seeking exclusive closed cliques against a third country runs against the trend of the times and aspiration of countries in the region. It will find no support, he said.
Defending the Chinese claims in the South China Sea, Zhao said: China is a builder of world peace, contributor of global development and upholder of world order.
The growth of China means the growth for peace and stability in the world and China's contribution to peace, stability and development in Asia Pacific is therefore all to see.
Relevant countries should do more that is conducive to solidarity and cooperation with the four countries in the region, he added.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a subtle message to China.
The Quad summit is taking place amidst China's aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich South China Sea.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.