Washington | PTI: US President Joe Biden has said that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping once told him that he was strengthening Quad against China. China, which has territorial disputes with many countries in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, has been vehemently opposing the Quad alliance since its formation.
Biden, during a Democratic Party fundraiser event at a private residence in Seattle on Friday, said that he had indicated to Xi that “I was going to pull together the Quad: Australia, India, Japan and the United States. He said, 'You're just doing that to affect us.' I said, 'No, it's because we're trying to put together those folks who have an opportunity to work together in the Indo-Pacific'".
"The point being that one of the things that the autocrats fear the most -- and India has its own problems; all those countries have their own problems -- is the notion that somehow we can work together in concert and contrary to what are essentially dictatorships, which a lot of countries have become, particularly not only China but Russia and many other countries...the Philippines,” he said.
In February, China termed the Quad alliance as a "tool" to contain China's rise and maintain American hegemony. "China believes that the so-called Quad group cobbled together by the US, Japan, India and Australia is essentially a tool for containing and besieging China to maintain US hegemony.
“It aims to stoke confrontation and undermine international solidarity and cooperation," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian had said in Beijing in February. During the party fundraiser event, Biden said that when he got elected, Russian president Vladimir Putin thought that he would easily be able to break up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
"That was part of his objective from the very beginning. And I know I've been saying that for eight years, but it was part of his objective,” he said. But the irony of all ironies to this... he got exactly what he did not want, Biden said.
The US president said that Putin was looking for further Finlandisation (the process whereby a country is induced to favour, or refrain from opposing, the interests of a more powerful country) of Europe. Instead, he got Finland… wanting to join NATO and Sweden wanting to join NATO. His action is generating exactly the opposite of what he intended.
"I'm not suggesting that makes things all that easier. But the point is that we have a circumstance where the Ukrainian people are incredibly brave; they're incredibly resolved, not just the military that was trained but the people in the streets.
"They are making a lie of Putin's theory that somehow because they're Slavic in background and many spoke Russian that somehow there would be a welcoming party. The exact opposite has happened,” Biden added.
In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan 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, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. Beijing is also involved in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea.
The Quad leaders, at their first-in-person summit in Washington in September last year hosted by US President Biden, had pledged to ensure a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, which is also "inclusive and resilient", as they noted that the strategically vital region, witnessing China's growing military manoeuvring, is a bedrock of their shared security and prosperity.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian, he wants to stress that as the Cold War is long over, “the attempt to forge a so-called alliance to contain China wins no support and leads nowhere”. Zhao also alleged that the US was playing up the “China threat” theory in order to "smear, oppress and contain China's development". Meanwhile, the next in-person Quad summit is expected to be hosted by Japan next month.
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan