Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 7
US administration officials have cited India’s tensions with China in eastern Ladakh as one of the reasons for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tough words on China in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Speaking at other engagements before the four foreign ministers of Quad countries met for three hours, Pompeo attacked China and the Chinese Communist Party on grounds ranging from coercion to corruption.
The essence that came out of the meeting was to cooperate in critical technologies and materials, maritime and cyber security and quality infrastructure building. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne referred to positivity as the main force behind the deliberations, which was at odds with what Pompeo had advocated. The other two participants, S Jaishankar and Toshimitsu Motegi, also kept off China from their addresses.
A senior US State Department official, briefing the media, however said Pompeo was right in explicitly criticising China because of Beijing’s “sudden turn toward gross aggression in its entire periphery”. This included the conflict in the Himalayas where something that was handled according to unspoken or unwritten rules in the past has now turned to “people beating each other to death”.
Another official said if China thought it was a great power, it should participate in arms control talks as well as use WTO in ways acceptable to everybody.
The officials also played down China’s claim of assisting the WHO to fight the pandemic. While the US has put $20.5 billion towards a vaccine, China volunteered $2 billion in April, and “as far as I can tell, we haven’t seen any of that money”.