The United States will push back against China’s aggressive actions, including territorial claims with India along the border, a top diplomat said on Monday, according to Hindustan Times.
“Our strategy is to push back against China in virtually every domain,” United States Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said. “We’re doing it in the security area. We’re doing it in terms of outsized demands to claim sovereign territory, whether it’s in the Galwan Valley of India on the India-Chinese border, or whether it’s in the South Pacific. We’re also doing it economically.”
Biegun made the statement during a conversation with former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma at a leadership summit organised by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.
On Beijing’s aggressive action on the border with India, in Hong-Kong and various Indo-Pacific countries, Beigun said the US was focused on “countering the predatory practices from the Chinese economy”.
He added that China was subduing the Tibetans and Uyghurs, has breached an agreement on the transition of Hong Kong with the United Kingdom, was “near hostilities” India and “in a state of hostility” with Taiwan.
He also mentioned that China was brought into the World Trade Organization so that the country can transition into a more rule-based order but this “experiment” has failed.
The deputy secretary of state said that the US was considering formalising close defence ties with India, Japan and Australia with an aim to counter China, ANI reported. The grouping, dubbed “quad”, will be similar to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
“The Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures,” Beigun said. “They do not have anything of the fortitude of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] or the European Union. The strongest institutions in Asia oftentimes are not, I think, not inclusive enough and so... there is certainly an invitation there at some point to formalise a structure like this.”
However, he also said that the country will keep its ambitions for the grouping at check and asserted that a formal alliance would only happen if other countries are “as committed as the US”.
Beigun noted that India has not realised that it cannot be “a passive player” in the developments of the Indo-Pacific region. This has led to recent meetings of quad members along with New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam to discuss ways to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.