12 Feb Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Melbourne
The Foreign Ministers of Australia, Japan, the United States and India met for the fourth Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne, Australia on 11 February 2022.
During the meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting developing nations on training of healthcare workers and enhancing infrastructure for ‘last mile’ vaccine delivery. All together, Quad partners provided more than 500 million vaccine doses and are aiming to donate more than 1.3 billion vaccine doses globally.
The four nations also pledged to enhance their practical cooperation to address regional challenges including cyber security, maritime security, counter-terrorism, countering disinformation, humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The Ministers acknowledged the efforts of the four countries in assisting Tonga’s recovery from the January 2022 volcano eruption and tsunami.
Australia’s proposal to host an Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum in mid-2022 was welcomed by the group.
The next Quad Summit Meeting is scheduled to take place in Japan in the first half of 2022. The Quad leaders’ agenda includes Quad Vaccine Partnership, climate change, cyber security, infrastructure, the peaceful use of outer space, education and critical and emerging technologies.
Japan’s foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed serious concerns regarding unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force and coercion in the East and South China Seas and the four Ministers stressed the importance of adherence to international law.
In the Q&A interview published by the Australian on 11 February, Minister Hayashi referred to Chinese military trends demonstrated in the East China Sea, Pacific Ocean and South China Sea as a matter of grave concern to the region.
The Minister also said it was crucial to work closely with other like-minded partners such as ASEAN and Pacific Island countries (this view was also reaffirmed during the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting). The Japanese government recently announced its plan to set up a new embassy in Kiribati, an island nation in the South Pacific next fiscal year. Japan also plans to open a consulate office in Noumea in New Caledonia.