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China FM: ASEAN should avoid power struggles between major nations. Gong Qin.”

China FM: ASEAN should avoid power struggles between major nations. Gong Qin.”

BEIJING: Foreign Minister of China  Qin Gang said on Tuesday that the Organization of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should avoid any conflicts between powerful nations (Mar 7).

Moreover, Qin stated that ASEAN cannot act as an agent of any outside force during an annual meeting of the legislature in Beijing.

The foreign minister was replying to a question about how the region’s nations have been under a lot of pressure. According to some media reports, as China’s economy is under increasing pressure to contract, the region’s nations are finding it harder and harder to rely on the US for security assurances and on China for economic growth.

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Image Source: CNA

It will only have an adverse effect on the open, inclusive, and ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture and jeopardise the general and long-term interests of the neighbouring nations.

Qin pointed out that several regional leaders have indicated that ASEAN should avoid acting as a pawn in conflicts between major powers and should refrain from acting as any one party’s proxy.

He argued that rather than serving as a chessboard for geopolitical disputes, Asia and the Asia-Pacific area should serve as a stage for winning cooperation.

He stated that a crisis similar to the one in Ukraine shouldn’t recur in Asia and that the cold war should not be rekindled.

In the past, he held the positions of vice minister of foreign affairs from 2018 to 2021 and ambassador of China to the United States from 2021 to 2023.

When Vivian Balakrishnan, the foreign minister of Singapore, visited Beijing in February 2023, he also had a meeting with her.

Qin originally read two phrases from the preamble of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China in answer to a reporter’s inquiry about the potential of a conflict between China and U.S over the Taiwan issue.

Taiwan is a part of China, and everyone in China, including “those in Taiwan,” has “an inviolable obligation” to complete the process of unification.

The resolution of the Taiwan issue is a concern for the Chinese populace, and no other nation has the right to meddle in it, Qin added, mocking remarks made by “high U.S. officials” who said this was not a Chinese internal issue.

According to Qin, they “retain the option of taking all necessary actions” and “must act” in consonance with the Constitution and the law if the Anti-Secession Law is broken.

No one should ever undervalue the Chinese government’s and people’s commitment to preserving their country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, he said.

The “first red line that nothing to be crossed” in China-U.S. relations, he elaborated, remains Taiwan as the centre of China’s core interests.

China has not supplied weapons to “any side” of the dispute, Qin emphasized, and it is not a group in the situation.

Also, he made reference to the 12-point statement on China’s position on the war that the China foreign ministry had released earlier in the month and that called for negotiations for a settlement.

Unfortunately, efforts to hold peace discussions have consistently been thwarted. Conflict, sanctions, and pressure “will not solve the situation,” Qin said, adding that “there appears to be an invisible hand pulling for the protraction and escalations of the dispute.”

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