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. He said that Washington is seeking to advance its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”
Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe lashed out at U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, rejecting his “smearing accusation” the day before 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, the Associated Press reports.
Wei Fenghe, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, said the burden of improving the troubled U.S.-China ties lies on Washington.
“We request the U.S. side to stop smearing and containing China. Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. The bilateral relationship cannot improve unless the U.S. side can do that,” he told delegates at the dialogue, Asia’s top defense conference, according to CNBC.
“No country should impose its will on others or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,” Wei said.