Beijing, May 25 (PTI) China on Wednesday slammed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework launched by the US ahead of the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo, saying that many countries in the region are worried that the IPEF may decouple them from the Chinese economy.
US President Joe Biden rolled out the IPEF on May 23 ahead of the Quad summit. Biden said 12 countries, including India, have joined the new initiative which is largely seen as an attempt to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The countries joining at the launch of the US-led initiative are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
According to official documents, the framework includes four pillars: trade; supply chains; clean energy and infrastructure; and tax and anti-corruption.
When asked to comment on a senior US official remarks that the IPEF is “the most significant international economic engagement that the United States has ever had in this region” and presents Indo-Pacific countries an alternative to China, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here that in the name of cooperation, the framework seeks to exclude certain countries.
Besides China, IPEF excluded Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar which are regarded as close to Beijing.
Wang said IPEF establishes US-led trade rules, restructures the system of industrial chains, and decouples regional countries from the Chinese economy.
“The US Secretary of Commerce said publicly that the IPEF marks an important turning point in restoring US economic leadership in the region and presenting regional countries an alternative to China’s approach. The fact is, many countries in the region are worried about the huge cost of 'decoupling' with China,” he said.
The US claims that it seeks to win the competition of the 21st century with the IPEF. This fully demonstrates that the Framework first and foremost serves the US economy, he said.
Over the years, the US has been absent from Asia-Pacific economic cooperation. It withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and did not participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Wang said.
“All of this is done entirely out of its own interests. The US is taking a selective approach in acceding to regional cooperation initiatives. Now the US proposed the IPEF only to start something new to serve its own interests,” he said, adding that the framework is also designed to advance US geopolitical strategy. PTI KJV SCY AKJ SCY
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