On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Vietnamese counterpart in a phone call that the US Indo-Pacific Strategy could lead to a “tragedy” similar to the war in Ukraine.
The strategy, which was released by the Biden administration in February, calls for the US to expand its diplomatic and military presence in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China with an emphasis on alliance building.
“The United States has tried to create regional tension and provoke confrontation by pushing forward the Indo-Pacific strategy,” Wang told Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“This will seriously damage the hard-won peaceful development in the region and erode regional cooperation that has had ASEAN at its core,” he said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “We cannot let the Cold War mentality return to the region and the Ukraine tragedy to repeat around us,”
One of Moscow’s main motivations for invading Ukraine was Kyiv’s alignment with NATO and the military alliance’s presence on Russia’s borders. Leading up to the invasion, Russia and the US were engaged in intense negotiations. Moscow’s key demand was for a guarantee that Ukraine won’t ever join NATO, but President Biden refused to make the promise.
China naturally views the US efforts to build alliances against it as a similar threat, and the activity that appears to anger Beijing the most is Washington’s increasing support for Taiwan. Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy calls for the strengthening of the US relationship with the island.
A delegation US lawmakers led by was led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) landed in Taiwan on Thursday and met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday. The visit angered China, which responded by conducting military exercises near Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the drills were a “counteraction” to the US sending delegations to Taiwan.
Washington severed formal diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979, but in recent years, the US has been sending high-level officials to the island, and congressional delegation visits have been more frequent.
In January, China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang warned that Washington’s support for Taiwan could ultimately lead to war between the US and China. “If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in the military conflict,” Qin said.