China on Tuesday reiterated its criticism of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India, Australia, Japan and the US in Tokyo, saying it is opposed to the formation of “exclusive cliques” harming third party’s interests. The foreign ministers from the Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad group – the US, Japan, India and Australia met in Tokyo on Tuesday in what is their first in-person talks since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of China’s aggressive military behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

“We believe the world’s overriding trend is peace, development and win-win cooperation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, commenting on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue meeting or Quad meeting. “Instead of forming exclusive cliques, multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should be open, inclusive and transparent, said the statement circulated by the Ministry to queries from the media to the Quad Ministers’ meeting. “Instead of targeting third parties or undermining third parties’ interests, cooperation should be conducive to mutual understanding and trust between regional countries, it said.

“We hope the relevant countries can think more of the regional countries’ common interests and contribute to regional peace, stability and development rather than doing the opposite, the statement said. Tuesday’s statement was similar to remarks made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin last week while replying to a question about the planned meeting of the Quad ministers in Tokyo.