Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (file photo). Photograph:( Twitter )
China is not officially on the agenda, but political analysts have said that leaders might address Beijing's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, free Indo-Pacific freedom of navigation
India, Australia, Japan and the United States preparing to participate in the first in-person Quad leaders' summit in Washington on Friday (September 24), however, furious China has criticised the grouping.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterparts Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan arrived in the American capital at the invitation of US President Joe Biden to discuss the Coronavirus pandemic, climate change, economic cooperation and other global issues.
Although China is not officially on the agenda, but political analysts have suggested that leaders might address Beijing's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, free Indo-Pacific freedom of navigation, etc.
On being asked for China's reaction on the Quad summit, 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.
On China's 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.
Earlier 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.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square miles of the 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.
(With inputs from agencies)