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Updated February 19th, 2021 at 12:05 IST

Antony Blinken speaks to Quad counterparts, looks 'forward to deepening cooperation'

Blinken and his counterparts agreed that they strongly oppose any attempt by China to alter the status quo in the Indo-Pacific by force or any other means.

Reported by: Vishal Tiwari
Edited by: Vishal Tiwari
Blinken
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The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken held his first Quad meeting with his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia since taking charge last month. Quad, which is meant to counter China's increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, was held Thursday morning (US time). Blinken and his counterparts agreed that they strongly oppose any attempt by China to alter the status quo in the Indo-Pacific region by force or any other means. 

Read: Quad Nations Emphasise On Respecting Territorial Integrity And Sovereignty

'Strengthen support for territorial integrity 

According to the US State Department spokesperson, the ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity. The ministers also discussed countering disinformation, maritime security, counterterrorism, and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region.

Read: 'Quad Partners Strong Supporters Of ASEAN Centrality', Says Australia Ahead Of Meeting

The recent military coup in Myanmar was also discussed during the meeting as the four ministers agreed on the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in the country. The ministers reaffirmed their mutual support for ASEAN centrality. They further agreed to cooperate on other global challenges, including climate change, COVID-19 pandemic response, and recovery. 

Read: 'Reiterated Our Commitment': PM Modi Speaks To Australian PM Morrison Ahead Of Quad Meet

Towards the end of the meeting, the ministers agreed to meet for the Quad dialogue at least once a year, reiterating their support for the grouping that was revived in 2017 to counter China. The four democracies have repeatedly run into problems with Communist Beijing in the past couple of years.

India and Japan have unresolved border disputes with China in the Himalayas and the East China Sea respectively. Canberra is facing issues such as interference in internal affairs, trade wars, etc with its largest trading partner Beijing. Meanwhile, the US is fighting to keep its crown of the world's most powerful economy safe from China, which is looking to dethrone it from the position in the next 5-10 years. 

Read: QUAD Opposes Chinese Attempts To Alter Status Quo In Indo-Pacific; EAM Attends Meet

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Published February 19th, 2021 at 12:08 IST

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