China, in a reference to the Quad coalition comprising India, United States, Australia and Japan, on Monday said that certain countries were keen to exaggerate the threat posed by Beijing in order to create discord in the Indo-Pacific region.

China added that the countries should shake-off their “Cold-War mentality” and refrain from creating small and exclusive groups. Beijing’s response came three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United States President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga came together for the first Quad Leaders’ Virtual Summit.

“For quite some time, certain countries have been so keen to exaggerate and hype up the so-called ‘China threat’ to sow discord among regional countries, especially to disrupt their relations with China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a press briefing. “However, their actions, running counter to the trend of the times of peace, development and cooperation and the common aspirations of the countries and peoples in the region, will not be welcomed or succeed.”

The spokesperson added that the discussions between countries should focus on improving mutual understanding, instead of targeting third parties. “Certain countries should shake off their Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice, refrain from forming closed and exclusive small circles, and do more things that are conducive to solidarity and cooperation among regional countries and regional peace and stability,” Zhao added.

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The Quad has made a good start with vaccine diplomacy. Now it should avoid the ‘China Trap’

The Quadrilateral Framework has been revitalised following the grouping’s first and high-profile top leader-level online summit last Friday. The summit focused on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and the development of coronavirus vaccines.

The group had decided to begin a collective vaccine initiative under which the doses will be manufactured in India with financial and logistical backing from other member countries.

“United in our fight against COVID-19, we launched a landmark Quad partnership to ensure accessibility of safe COVID-19 vaccines. India’s formidable vaccine production capacity will be expanded with support from Japan, US and Australia to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region,” Modi had tweeted after the summit.

The consensus in Beijing is that the four countries came together to counter China’s increasing influence and muscle-flexing in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region. Quad’s vaccine initiative is also being seen as an effort to counter China’s “vaccine diplomacy”.