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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

US’ Pompeo and ‘Quad’ peers in Tokyo to discuss China strategy

Foreign ministers from the 'Quad' nations — Japan, the US, India and Australia — have gathered for talks aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. COVID-19 was also on the agenda.

By: Deutsche Welle | October 6, 2020 5:33:11 pm
Quad, Japan, S Jaishankar, Toshimitsu Motegi, Marise Payne, Mike Pompeo,Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, left, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, center left, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne, center right, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attend their meeting in Tokyo Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Charly Triballeau/Pool Photo via AP)

Foreign ministers from the ‘Quad’ nations — Japan, the US, India and Australia — have gathered in Tokyo for talks aimed at countering China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Foreign ministers from the co-called Quad group gathered in Tokyo on Tuesday for talks that Japan hopes will boost their involvement in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) regional initiative.

Japanese officials said they planned to discuss the FOIP, which they hope will boost security and economic cooperation between the four allies. Tokyo and Washington have pushed hard to bring together like-minded countries that share Japan’s concerns about China’s growing assertiveness and influence.

Japan has become increasingly alarmed at what it considers as Beijing ignoring international laws and norms in its “relentless” intrusions in waters surrounding a group of islets claimed by both China and Japan in the East China Sea.

In the South China Sea, Japan accused Beijing of asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around dispusted islands.

Four-way talks

Pompeo is a fierce critic of China on issues from security to human rights to the coronavirus pandemic, which the Trump administration has sought to blame on Beijing .

Pompeo — who has led a campaign encouraging other nations to shun China — is the first senior US official to visit Japan since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office in September.

“In his first statement after assuming office, Prime Minister Suga described the free and open Indo-Pacific as ‘the foundation of regional peace and stability’. I could not agree more,” Pompeo said at the start of talks with Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

The meeting — the alliance’s first face-to-face talks since the coronavirus pandemic broke out — were also being attended by Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, and her Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Payne said on Twitter that she and Pompeo “spoke about our ongoing cooperation to promote peace, stability & prosperity in our region.”

The first Quad meeting took place in New York last year, with the group planning to hold such talks annually.

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