BEIJING – China welcomed on Monday the creation of an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, launched by US President Donald Trump during his ongoing Asia tour, but also said it hoped it would not be directed at third parties or exclude countries such as China.
Trump has repeatedly defended the strengthening of Indo-Pacific relations during his trip to Asia, referring especially to ties between the US, Japan, Australia and India, an idea that analysts believe seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
“We welcome the development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries and we hope this kind of relations will not be directed at third parties and will be conducive to regional peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference.
Such initiatives should “avoid politicizing or excluding relevant parties” and “correspond with the trend of the times,” he added.
Both the US President as well as members of his administration have begun to replace the usual reference to the Asia-Pacific region with Indo-Pacific, which some analysts see as reflecting Washington’s growing focus on the Indian subcontinent and surrounding areas.