US Shares Australia Concerns About Beijing Malign Activity
U.S. Secretary and Foreign Ministers of three countries of the Indo-Pacific region discussed strategies that could counter the growing assertiveness of Communist China on Tuesday in Tokyo.
The foreign ministers of the Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad group-the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia - met in Tokyo for their first in-person talks since the beginning of the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Japanese new Prime Minister Mr. Yoshihide Suga said at a meeting that their Free and Open Indo-Pacific initiative, a concept to counter the growing assertiveness of Communist China, is more important than ever amid challenges from the pandemic.
The international community faces multiple challenges as it tries to resolve the pandemic emphasised Japanese Prime Minister. It is why now it is time that we should further deepen coordination with as many countries as possible that share our vision, he stated.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and their Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, held their own session, without Mr Suga, later Tuesday.
The Quad has a positive agenda, emphasised Foreign Minister Marise Payne. We believe in a region governed by rules, not by power, she emphasised. We believe in fundamental importance of individual rights and in a region in which disputes are resolved according to international law, she stressed. Minister also stated that the countries of Quad believe in regional security and recovery from the pandemic that supports sovereign choices for the countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia has no more important partners than Japan, the United States and India
in support of economic recovery, strengthening health security,
promoting access to safe and effective the virus vaccines, emphasised Foreign Minister Payne.
The topics discussed by the top diplomats of four countries during the meeting on Tuesday in Tokyo included health cooperation, maritime security, critical minerals and technologies, countering disinformation and humanitarian assistance.
Mr. Pompeo earlier met with his three counterparts separately and shared their concerns about the increasing influence of Beijing in the region, while reaffirming the importance of cooperation among those sharing the concerns.
U.S. State Secretary, during his talks with Minister Payne, shared concerns about China’s malign activity in the region. He agreed on the importance of the Quad discussions to the promotion of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, according to the State Department.
Free and Open Indo-Pacific and stable relations with Beijing
The talks follow a recent flareup in tensions between China and India over their disputed Himalayan border. Relations between Australia and Communist China have also deteriorated in recent months due to the Beijing economic sanctions against Australian wine and grain exporters.
Japan is concerned about the Communist China claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea. Japan also considers the growing military activity of Beijing to be a security threat. In the annual defense policy paper published in July, Tokyo accused China of unilaterally changing the status quo in the South China Sea. The authors pointed at militarized the artificial islands built by Beijing. The paper criticised Beijing for its claim to virtually all of the sea’s key fisheries and waterways.
Mr. Suga, who was chief Cabinet secretary under Mr. Abe, told Japanese media on Monday that he would pursue diplomacy based on the Japan-U.S. alliance. He emphasised that this policy would remain a cornerstone of diplomacy focused on the strategic promotion of the Free and Open Indo Pacific. Mr. Suga also stated that he would establish stable relations with neighbors, including China and Russia. He said he also planned to promote the FOIP during a visit to Southeast Asia later this month.
Japan is a force for good in international affairs, wrote Minister Payne on her Twitter. We value its leadership in our region and look forward to bringing our two nations even closer together under PM Suga, she added. Ms. Payne also commented that Japanese leadership reflects the bonds between the Quad countries that were evident during the meeting.