China said on Monday that no 'exclusive cliques' should be formed as it accused some countries of trying to 'drive a wedge' among regional nations citing the 'China threat' and asserted that they will 'end up nowhere'.
Quad countries involving the United States, India, Australia and Japan held their first virtual summit on Friday during which President Joe Biden told leaders of the coalition that a 'free and open' Indo-Pacific is essential to their countries and vowed that his country was committed to working with its partners and allies in the region to achieve stability.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the virtual summit alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
"Relevant countries should abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, do not form exclusive cliques and act in a way conducive to solidarity, unity, regional peace and stability," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing.
He was answering a question about the first Leaders' Summit of the Quad countries and the reported remarks by US National Secretary Advisor Jake Sullivan that the four leaders discussed the challenge posed by China and said all four believed the democracies could help compete with autocracy.
"For some time, some countries have been exaggerating the so-called 'China threat'. China challenges to drive a wedge among regional countries to sow discord between their relations with China," Zhao said.
"What they have done is against the trend of times which is peace, development and win-win cooperation and runs counter to the common aspirations of people in the region," he said.
"They will gain no support and will end up nowhere," he said.
"The state-to-state exchanges and cooperation should be conducive for improving mutual understanding and trust among the countries and should not be targeted against and undermine the interests of third parties," he said.
Zhao also reacted angrily to reported remarks by US Defence Secretary Lloyd J. Austin that the goal of the US and its key allies is to ensure that they have the capabilities, operational plans and concepts to offer credible deterrence to China or anybody else who wants to take on America.
"In the era of globalisation, the practice of forming cliques against specific countries based on ideology is detrimental to the international order," Zhao said. "They will gain no support and end up nowhere," he said.
"The US should adopt the right mindset, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, work with China, focus on cooperation and manage differences to bring China-US relations back on track for sound and stable development," he said.
He said China has been promoting world peace and contributing to the development and defending the international order.
"A growing China would only mean a greater strength for peace. It is an opportunity rather than a challenge to the world. China firmly upholds the international system with the UN at its core and international order based on international law rather than the international order defined by certain countries to save their hegemony," he said.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit India this week along with Japan and South Korea, in the first overseas trip of a senior member of the new Biden Administration.
This is for the first time that India has been included in the itinerary in the first overseas trip of a US Defence Secretary.