China Lashes Washington Over Quad, North Korea

BEIJING (AP) -- China's top diplomat on Monday accused Washington of trying to create an Asian version of the U.S.-European NATO military alliance and said it is up to the Biden administration to improve relations with North Korea.

U.S. policy toward East Asia and the Indian Ocean and efforts to strengthen military ties with Japan, Australia and India are a "disaster that disrupts regional peace and stability," Wang Yi said at a news conference.

The comments reflected the ruling Communist Party's ambitions to be Asia's undisputed power and its frustration with resistance from neighbors to its territorial claims in the South China Sea and the Himalayas.

They also reflect Beijing's stance toward Russia's invasion of Ukraine. China has sought to distance itself from the war by calling for dialogue and respect for national sovereignty. It also has said Washington is to blame for the conflict for failing to take Russia's security concerns into consideration.

"The United States is playing geopolitical games under the pretext of promoting regional cooperation," Wang said. He said this "runs counter" to regional desires for cooperation and "is doomed to have no future."

Wang complained Washington is organizing U.S. allies to "suppress China."

Beijing is irritated by growing military ties among the Quad nations of the United States, Japan, Australia and India. China criticized a U.S. decision last year to supply technology for Australia to field its first nuclear-powered submarines.

"The real purpose of the 'Indo-Pacific strategy' is to create an Indo-Pacific version of NATO," he said. The Western alliance's expansion was cited by Russian President Vladimir Putin as one reason behind his invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing's assertive foreign policy and claims to disputed territories in the South China Sea and the Himalayas have antagonized Japan, India and other neighbors. China

Wang called on the Biden administration to revive the spirit of the 1970s agreements that opened U.S. relations with the communist Beijing government.

"The United States still spares no effort to carry out intense competition with China, constantly attacking and provoking trouble on issues regarding China's core interests," Wang said.

Washington should "return to the right track of rationality and pragmatism," he said.

Wang called on Washington take initiative to improve relations with North Korea. He accused the Biden administration of failing to respond to "positive measures" by leader Kim Jong Un's government "aimed at promoting dialogue."

"Where to go next depends largely on what the American side does: will it really take concrete actions to solve the problem, or will it continue to use the (Korean) peninsula issue as a strategic bargaining chip?" Wang said.

Wang called on Washington to take steps to address the North's "legitimate security concerns" and establish trust but gave no details.

"China is willing to continue to play a constructive role and make efforts to this end," he said.

Turning to the disputed South China Sea, Wang complained outsiders were interfering with efforts to develop a "code of conduct" and said Beijing and Southeast Asian governments should be left alone to negotiate.

The United States and other governments have sent warships through sections of the sea claimed by Beijing to assert the right of vessels from all countries to use the waters.

Outsiders "do not want the South China Sea to be calm, because this will make them lose the pretext to intervene for personal gain," Wang said. "External interference cannot stop the pace of regional cooperation."