Australia to host two-day meeting of Quad foreign ministers

Jan 31, 2022: The Australian government said Monday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Australia in February to meet with his counterparts from Japan, India and Australia to discuss Indo-Pacific co-ordination.

The quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ two-day meeting comes amid concerns from the Biden administration about China, even as tensions with Russia over Ukraine escalate in Europe.

China has previously called the Quad a Cold War era concept and a clique designed to target other countries.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne did not give a date for the meeting, but said in a statement that she was looking forward to welcoming the quad foreign ministers to Australia in the coming weeks.

“We are a vital network of liberal democracies cooperating to give our region strategic choices, with a focus on practical steps to build the resilience and sovereignty of all states,” Payne said.

The government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison is deepening Australia’s partnerships in the region amid “strategic competition, threats to liberal international order and increasing uncertainty”, she added.

Japanese media had earlier reported that the quad meeting could be held virtually due to pandemic restrictions around international travel. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a tweet on January 27 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Canberra officials hope the February meeting time will allow Jaishankar to recover and return a negative test.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is also expected to attend. Quad Grouping has previously discussed increasing supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the region, supply chain for semiconductors and technology cooperation and has also conducted joint naval exercises.

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