Australia-India-Japan-United States Quad Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Today, I met the Foreign Minister of Japan, the External Affairs Minister of India and the Secretary of State of the United States for the second Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. We reaffirmed our commitment to working together, and with regional countries, to support COVID-19 recovery and promote a stable, resilient and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
Ministers reiterated our governments’ commitment to supporting Indo-Pacific countries in managing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, and agreed that access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines would be a critical factor not only to save lives but also to drive regional economic recovery.
At the same time, the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific is becoming more complex. Pressure on the rules, norms and institutions that underpin stability has the potential to undermine recovery. We emphasised that, especially during a pandemic, it was vital that states work to ease tensions and avoid exacerbating long-standing disputes, work to counter disinformation, and refrain from malicious cyberspace activity. Ministers reiterated that states cannot assert maritime claims that are inconsistent with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
We agreed to enhance cooperation to promote a strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific, and work to support a region of resilient and sovereign states that engage each other on the basis of rules, norms and international law. Ministers underscored their strong support for ASEAN centrality, and the important role of ASEAN and ASEAN-led architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit, in supporting regional stability and recovery. They agreed on the importance of the principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific in guiding the region out of the COVID-19 crisis and shaping the post-pandemic regional order.
Quad countries will continue to deepen cooperation in areas including maritime security, cyber affairs and critical technology, critical minerals, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening the resilience of regional supply chains, key cyber-enabled systems and critical infrastructure. To this end, we emphasised the importance of quality infrastructure investment as a driver of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic growth, which will be critical to supporting the region’s economic recovery. Ministers also agreed to further strengthen cooperation with regional partners and institutions, including in the Mekong sub-region.
Quad countries will continue to work closely at all levels, and the ministers looked forward to convening Quad ministerial meetings on a regular basis.