Quad meet: As the US pushes for an anti-China stance, Australia, India & Japan cruise cautiously

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Foreign Ministers of India, Japan, Australia & the US at the Quad meeting 2020 in Tokyo. Photo: mofa.go.jp

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 6 October 2020: The United States today pushed for an anti-China stance at the Quad meeting here, as Japan, Australia, and India took a cautious stand and did not name China in their statements.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his statement said, ” When we met, now last year, the landscape was very different. We couldn’t have imagined the pandemic that came from Wuhan. That crisis was made infinitely worse by the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup. The regime’s authoritarian nature led its leaders to lock up and silence the very brave Chinese citizens who were raising the alarm. America stands with each of you as we work to achieve victory over this horrible pandemic and rebuild our economies together, and I’m looking forward to that part of our conversation today.

“I also look forward to resolving – to renewing our resolve to protect our precious freedoms and the sovereignty of the diverse nations of the region. As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion. We’ve seen it in the south, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits. These are just a few examples.”

The Foreign Ministers of Quad countries – India (Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar), Australia (Marise Payne), Japan (MOTEGI Toshimitsu), and the US Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) held three hours meeting cum dinner in Tokyo, where they exchanged views on different issues both regional and international including the COVID-19 pandemic. Four separate statements were later issued by the respective countries.

Australia, India, and Japan referred to the strategic issues with China on the Indo-Pacific, without naming China. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said, ” We agreed to enhance cooperation to promote a strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific and work to support a region of resilient and sovereign states that engage each other on the basis of rules, norms and international law.”

In his opening remarks, India’s Foreign Minister Dr.Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, ” Our objective remains advancing the security and the economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the region. It is a matter of satisfaction that the Indo-Pacific concept has gained increasingly wider acceptance. The Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative that we tabled at the East Asia Summit last year is a development with considerable promise in that context.”

A media release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, ” The four Ministers affirmed the importance of broadening cooperation with more countries for the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” as the vision serves for the peace and prosperity of the region and its importance in the post-COVID world is increasing. In this regard, the four Ministers reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality as well as the ASEAN-led regional architecture. They also reaffirmed their full support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They also welcomed proactive efforts by other countries including those in Europe toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

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