China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi took aim at the Quad and other such initiatives, saying, “We should jointly oppose group politics and block confrontation.”
“Pursuing one’s own absolute security can only undermine global strategic stability,” he said on Saturday at the high-level UN General Assembly meeting.
The Quad, made up of India, the US, Japan and Australia, is committed to security in the Indo-Pacific region and cooperation on development and has been criticised by China, and India is entering into similar arrangements elsewhere also.
Wang did not name the Quad or India in making the criticism that was implied.
After a long confrontation with India that escalated in recent years, he said, “We must address differences by peaceful means and resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation.”
“We must uphold peace and oppose war,” he added.
“Turbulence and war can only open pandora’s box.”
“No country is above others and no country should abuse this power to bully other sovereign countries,” Wang said.
Those principles can also apply to the Ukraine war, about which he added, “We call on all parties concerned to keep the crisis from spilling over and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.”
Developing countries have been hit hard by the spillover effects of the invasion that have caused food shortages and resulted in high energy prices, the Chinese Foreign Minister said.
“China supports efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis. The pressing priority is to facilitate talks for peace,” he added.
“The fundamental solution is to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture,” he said, bringing up Russia’s objections to NATO expansion.
His statement did not reflect any substantial change in Beijing’s approach to Russia’s invasion even though Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has admitted that China had “questions and concerns” about the war.
Regarding the criticism from the West about China’s human rights record and its dictatorial system, Wang added, “A difference in systems should not be used as an excuse to create division. Still, as should democracy and human rights be used as tools or weapons to achieve political ends.”
He said, “We should stand against the drawing ideological lines and expand the common ground to promote world peace and development.”
Wang expressed concern over what he called protectionist trends and, by extension.
“Protectionism can only build around and decoupling a supply chain disruption will hurt everyone. We should stay true to open this and candour, inclusiveness and tear down fences and barriers that hinder the free flow of factors of production.”
On threats to cybersecurity, the Chinese Foreign Minister added, “We have launched a global initiative on data security as our contribution to formulating rules on global data security.”
With tension rising between China and Taiwan and the US, especially after US Speaker’s visit to the island along with Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Wang reiterated Beijing’s hardline “One China” policy on Taiwan, warning that anyone trying to change it would be “crushed under the wheel of history”.
He said Taiwan issues were an internal matter of China and warned against anyone promoting the island’s independence.
“Chinese have never ceased our efforts to realise reunification,” he added.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com and followed at @arulouis)