China Asks G7 to ‘Respect’ Ties with ASEAN After Meeting Invite

China on Wednesday urged the Group of Seven industrialized countries to “respect” the political systems of Asian countries amid regional tensions, after the group invited ASEAN to a ministerial meeting for the first time.

Earlier this week, Britain had invited the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to a G7 foreign ministers meeting next month. Observers expect that the move is likely to be viewed by China as an opportunity to endorse the G7’s controversial AUKUS expansion.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that China urges G7 “to get a clear understanding of the situation in the world, follow the trend of the times, view the development and progress of China and Asia in an objective and rational light.”

Zhao asked G7 to “respect Asian countries’ political systems, development paths, values and cooperation consensus.”

The bloc should also “abandon the Cold War mentality, stop willfully interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, and do more for regional peace and stability.”

The recent formation of AUKUS, a defense alliance between Australia, the U.K., and U.S. aimed at addressing regional tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, had infuriated China. Beijing earlier called the move as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to peace within the region.

Zhao added that Beijing believes that the Southeast Asian bloc will work together to advance a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with China, which both sides had agreed on after President Xi Jinping made a rare appearance at an online summit on Monday.

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