Japan expresses worry over China's attempts to alter status quo in Indo-Pacific
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Thursday confirmed the importance of promoting the vision of a "Free & Open Indo-Pacific" together with more countries for the realisation of the vision on the lines of 3rd Quad foreign ministers meeting, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in a press release.
Toshimitsu Motegi along with his counterparts Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in the third India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting on Thursday.
The foreign ministers shared the recognition that the existing international order has been under challenge in various fields including unilateral attempts to change the status quo, and that the four countries, which share basic values and are deeply committed to reinforcing a free and open global order based on the rule of law, are playing an increasingly important role under such situations.
They also agreed that they strongly opposed any attempts by China to alter the status quo in the Indo-Pacific by force or coercion and reiterated their call for a free open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
China has been trying to increase its sphere of influence in the South China Sea as well as in the East China Sea region negating the international laws on seas. It has built artificial islands, Paracel and Spratly island chains in order to claim the 12 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In January this year, it passed a law that gave power to its coastguard to fire on foreign vessels and demolish structures built in disputed waters.
Motegi expressed serious concern with regard to China's Coast Guard Law, and the four Ministers concurred to strongly oppose unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo in the context of the East and the South China Sea.
The four Ministers concurred on further advancing practical cooperation in various areas such as quality infrastructure, maritime security, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, education, and human resource development.
"The four Ministers reaffirmed their strong support for the "ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific", which is ASEAN's proactive efforts, and ASEAN's unity and centrality as well as the ASEAN-led regional architecture. They also welcomed proactive efforts by other countries including those in Europe toward a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific," read the release.
Motegi also expressed grave concern for the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and explained that Japan was strongly urging the Myanmar military to immediately stop violence against citizens including shootings, release those who have been detained including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and swiftly restore Myanmar's democratic political system. The four Ministers shared the view on the need to recover the democratic regime early, read the release.
In addition, the four Ministers also exchanged views on regional issues such as North Korea as well as cooperation on global challenges including response to the COVID-19 and climate change.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is a four-member grouping of Australia, Japan, India, and the US. It is committed to respecting and upholding international rules and obligations through positive, practical engagement to protect and support the sovereignty, prosperity, and security of the Indo-Pacific region.
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- The phone call was the first formal contact between Jaishankar and Wang since they met on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow on September 10 last year.
- The phone call was seen as the final precursor to the release of the report on the grisly killing in 2018 of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi national who had been an outspoken critic of Salman's expected successor Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.