Australia on Friday reiterated their commitment to deepen Quad cooperation on regional priorities ranging from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, maritime security, infrastructure, supply chain resilience, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief, cyber and critical technologies to countering disinformation, in a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade press release.
Payne along with her counterparts Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in the third India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting on Thursday.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne further stated in the release, “We discussed the importance of deepening our cooperation to address climate change. We reiterated our serious concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and affirmed our commitment to its democratic transition.”
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is a four-member grouping of Australia, Japan, India, and the US.
“The Quad is a key pillar of Australia’s international agenda, bringing together four like-minded democracies committed to respecting and upholding international rules and obligations through positive, practical engagement to protect and support the sovereignty, prosperity, and security of the region,” read the release.
Payne also reaffirmed commitment to supporting an open, inclusive and resilient region where the rights of all countries are respected and disputes are resolved peacefully, free from coercion, and in accordance with international law.
The foreign ministers of the four Quad countries 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.
Payne also reaffirmed steadfast support for ASEAN centrality and the principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Quad countries work with ASEAN and through ASEAN-led architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit, to advance a stable and prosperous region, read the release.