China's defense minister accused the United States on Sunday of trying to “hijack” the support of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to turn them against Beijing, saying Washington is seeking to advance its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”
© Provided by Associated PressChina's Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe salutes attendees at a plenary session during the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia's annual defense and security forum, in Singapore, Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Danial Hakim)
Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe lashed out at U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, rejecting his “smearing accusation” the day before at the Shangri-La Dialogue that China was causing instability with its claim to the self-governing island of Taiwan and its increased military activity in the area.
Austin had stressed the need for multilateral partnerships with nations in the Indo-Pacific, which Wei suggested was an attempt to back China into a corner.
“No country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” he said. “ The strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country — it is a strategy to create conflict and confrontation to contain and encircle others.”