The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States, Australia and India affirmed Tuesday they will step up coordination to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, taking aim at what Washington called China’s “exploitation, corruption and coercion” of smaller states in the region.
The four major Indo-Pacific democracies, known as the “Quad,” called on other countries to join the initiative, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said after a meeting in Tokyo with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Speaking at the meeting, Pompeo said, “It is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partnerships from the Chinese Communist Party’s exploitation, corruption and coercion.”
“We see it in the South and East China seas, in Mekong, the Himalayas, Taiwan Strait, these are just a few examples,” Pompeo told the meeting, the second of its kind since the inaugural session in New York in September last year.
Motegi said the four ministers exchanged views on China’s attempts to undermine Tokyo’s administration of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and Beijing’s militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea, in a veiled counter to China’s attempts to alter the regional status quo by force or coercion.