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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said cooperation among the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue “is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.” Mr Pompeo made the incendiary remark during showdowns with his counterparts from Asia security partners Australia, India and Japan.
Speaking to Newsweek, a Chinese official said China refutes Mr Pompeo’s criticism.
The spokesperson said: “China is committed to the path of peaceful development and firmly safeguards its sovereignty, security and development interests.
“At the same time, it is committed to resolving differences with other countries through dialogue and consultation.
“This is what we say and also what we do.
“We do not accept reckless smearing and groundless accusations against China.”
After the meetings, Mr Pompeo tweeted: “Looking forward to discussing increased cooperation to promote our shared vision for a free and open #IndoPacific, composed of nations that are independent, strong, and prosperous.”
Other members in the group, known as the Quad, include Japan’s Toshimitsu Motegi, Australia’s Marise Payne and India’s Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
According to US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown the group “reviewed recent strategic developments across the Indo-Pacific and discussed ways to enhance Quad cooperation on maritime security, cybersecurity and data flows, quality infrastructure, counterterrorism and other areas”.
As well as cooperation among the member countries, the Quad was set to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and cyber security.
It reinforced its support to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which champions intergovernmental cooperation among its ten member nations.
ASEAN also backs economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other nations in Asia.
Speaking to Japanese state media NHK, Mr Pompeo said: “It’s important that we cooperate and work together, have a shared picture, if you will, of the challenge.
”It’s important that we do this not only amongst the four countries, but that we share this with ASEAN countries, countries throughout the region, so they too understand the challenges presented by the Chinese Communist Party.”
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The top diplomat said the global confrontation was “not a rivalry between the United States and China,” but one “for the soul of the world.”
However, Beijing called for cooperation instead of creating conflict.
The Chinese embassy official said: ”Any multilateral or plurilateral cooperation should be conducted in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, not by forming exclusive blocs.
”It should be conducive to mutual understanding and trust between regional countries, instead of being targeted at any third party or detrimental to its interests.”
Speaking of Quad member countries, the spokesperson added: “We hope that the countries concerned will bear in mind the common interests of regional countries and act in a way that contributes to regional peace, stability and development, not to the contrary.”
But tensions between China and the US have only escalated in recent times.
Hu Xijin, editor of China’s state-run daily Global Times newspaper, launched an attack on US President Donald Trump following news of his coronavirus diagnosis.
He said testing positive for COVID-19 could have a “negative impact” on his performance in the upcoming US elections.
Mr Hu claimed that Mr Trump had “paid the price” for playing down the pandemic.
Mr Xijin tweeted: “President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19.
”The news shows the severity of the US’ pandemic situation.
“It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also negatively affect his reelection.”
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