China has all along opposed the Quad but the first summit of its leaders has rattled the dragon for sure. China may not have found mention in the first joint statement of the grouping but when East and South China seas are mentioned in the context of coercion, it’s clear who the aggressor is. And the common refrain of a free and open Indo-Pacific by Quad heads of government is anything but music so far as China is concerned.
“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,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters.
The Quad leaders have also spoken about renewing and strengthening partnerships in Southeast Asia, starting with ASEAN, some of whose members have experienced China’s bullying first hand. There’s also buzz about a ‘Quad Plus’. And that won’t amuse the Chinese.
“For some time, some countries have been exaggerating the so-called ‘China threat. They will gain no support and will end up nowhere,” the Chinese spokesperson said.