Vietnam's Vice Minister of Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh speaks during the Shangri La security dialogue in 2016. Photo: AFP / Roslan Rahman

China’s Global Times described a new regional bloc as a “ridiculous utopia”, in response to a Reuters report that Australia, Japan, India and Vietnam were quietly stepping up talks to form an alliance to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

The editorial (link in Chinese) argued that the countries in the region need to cooperate with China to achieve their “most important tasks”. At the same time, the Trump administration would pay no mind to the message that Washington needs to step up its regional presence. Trump, after all, needs to fix problems at home, regardless of the “grumbling” of allies.

“Talk of Asian countries ‘forming alliances’ to counter China is always attention grabbing, but this discussion actually becoming an effective geopolitical point of leverage is not realistic…

Asia is not the Europe of those days, today is not the Cold War era of the past, making new alliances to counter China will severely harm the geopolitical climate…

it would have no benefit for the countries involved, and for these reasons whatever countries actually raised the flag of such an alliance would be almost as awesome as Don Qixote.”

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