Chinese defense official says U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ seeks to maintain hegemony

Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, attends the opening session of the 10th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 16, 2023. /CFP

Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, attends the opening session of the 10th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 16, 2023. /CFP

A Chinese defense official on Saturday accused the United States of seeking to build an Asia-Pacific version of NATO through its “Indo-Pacific strategy” to maintain its hegemony in the region.

Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, said in response to the so-called “Indo-Pacific strategy” advocated by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his keynote speech at a briefing for media held by the Chinese Defense Ministry delegation at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Jing pointed out that the U.S. “Indo-Pacific strategy” in fact holds to the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game and pursues a utilitarian exclusive club under the banner of promoting regional cooperation.

“The real purpose is to merge the small circle into the large circle of the Asia-Pacific version of NATO so as to maintain the hegemony led by the U.S.,” Jing added.

Noting the strategy goes against the common will of countries in the region to seek peace, development, cooperation and win-win results, Jing said it serves only the selfish geopolitical interests of the United States and is doomed to have no future.

Taking ASEAN as an example, Jing said that the U.S. created divisions by building various small coalitions and strengthened the U.S.-led regional patterns, thus weakening the ASEAN-centered cooperation architecture, though it always said it supports the central role of ASEAN.

The small coalitions will ultimately exacerbate regional tensions, said Jing, adding that by tying regional countries to the chariot of the U.S., the U.S. is constantly exporting crises and chaos and becoming the source of risks and saboteurs for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Jing went on to say that the Asia-Pacific Region is a stage for peaceful development rather than an arena for geopolitical games. “Prosperity and stability is the common aspiration of all.”

The official stressed that China has always upheld the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and has worked with other countries in the region to build a common beautiful homeland.

As for the Chinese military, it has faithfully implemented the China-proposed Global Security Initiative and actively provided international public security goods, Jing said.

The “Peace Ark” hospital ship has visited many countries to provide medical services, while the Y-20 military transport aircraft have carried out humanitarian relief missions in Asia-Pacific countries many times, he added.

The Chinese military is willing to work with the militaries of regional countries to enhance strategic communication, deepen practical cooperation and contribute new and greater strength to the building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future, Jing said.