The US, Japan, Australia and India are preparing for the first meeting between the leaders of the Quartet in response to the growing Chinese influence in the region.
According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo, the move took place in the context of the new US President Joe Biden’s administration seems to want to attract attention to the group of four major democracies in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan calls this the foundation for building important US policy in the region.
A source familiar with the information revealed, the US has proposed to other countries the idea of holding an online conference between the leaders of the Quartet. Whether the meeting will take place soon or not will depend on India, which has a relatively cautious view of the cooperation framework. It is also the only Quartet member to share a land border with China and fall outside of US-led security alliances.
During the upcoming conference, the delegates are expected to discuss cooperation to realize the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy in the face of concerns about increasingly aggressive actions of China in the region. Some observers believe Beijing will not be happy with the event by seeing the Quartet come out to contain them.
Officially called the Quartet Security Dialogue, the group was born in 2004 in response to the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami disaster. After a hiatus, the group was revived in 2017. Since then, the Quartet has grown beyond humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and recently focused on efforts to promote a region. The Indo-Pacific is “free, open and inclusive” as stated by the US State Department.
The Foreign Ministers of the Quartet meet for the first time in New York in 2019. The second conference was held in Tokyo in October 2020 amid the pandemic. US Secretary of State at that time, Mike Pompoe stressed, Washington hoped to “institutionalize” the Quartet with the ability to “repel” China.
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