China on Friday called on the European Union (EU) to respect the development models of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, after the bloc unveiled a document on its Indo-Pacific Cooperation Strategy.
In the strategy released on Thursday, the EU said that it would increase cooperation with regional countries on seven priority areas and contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, based on "promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and universally agreed commitments."
When asked if the strategy is directed against China, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the EU's approach to the region is "one of cooperation, not confrontation."
"With regard to the Asia-Pacific region, China believes that any strategy should follow the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and mutual benefit, and help contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity," a spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the EU responded.
The Chinese envoy warned that provoking tensions and forming exclusive circles along ideological lines in the region is doomed to fail as it runs counter to regional countries' desire for peace, development and cooperation and the prevailing trend of the times.
"Whether the EU's strategy is about cooperation or confrontation, we will continue to follow it closely," said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson emphasized that the EU needs to respect the will of regional countries and their different development models, and commit itself to equality, inclusiveness and cooperation if it hopes to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.
In April, the EU member states approved conclusions on an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, a term the Europeans introduced to refer to a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states.
The member states then tasked the High Representative and the European Commission with putting forward a Joint Communication on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific by September.