QUAD FMs discuss "containing" Chinese progress
Countries of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue alliance discuss countering China's growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Foreign Ministers of the US, Australia, Japan, and India began Friday discussions in Melbourne on deepening the so-called Quad alliance aimed to contain the Chinese progress in the Asia-Pacific region and the current Ukrainian crisis.
Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne claimed the alliance forms a network of "liberal democracies" committed to ensuring that all Indo-Pacific nations are able to make their own strategic decisions, "coercion" free.
For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed in an interview for The Australian newspaper that China's ultimate ambition is to become the leading military, economic, diplomatic and political power, not only in the region but also in the world.
"I think we share concerns that in recent years China has been acting more aggressively at home and more aggressively in the region," he said.
Regarding a possible confrontation with China in the Indo-Pacific, Blinken told reporters that "nothing is inevitable."
The US secretary also touched on the Ukrainian crisis, alleging that Moscow's build-up is a challenge to the international rules-based order that the Quad alliance would work to preserve.
Blinken's visit to Australia tour came days after China and Russia announced a broad strategic partnership at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which the US, Australia and Japan are diplomatically boycotting.
What is the Quad Alliance?
The alliance was launched in 2007 under the name "Quadrilateral Security Dialogue" or "Quad", and set the framework for joint naval drills between the United States, India, Australia and Japan in the Pacific Ocean known as the "Malabar exercise".
The Quad cooperation also focuses on the region's Covid-19 response, cyber and maritime security, infrastructure, climate action and disaster relief.
It is noteworthy that China has previously described the Quad alliance as a Cold War construct and a circle "targeting other countries."