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Quad condemns North Korea's missile launches, opposes 'coercive' economic policies

As with Quad meets, this one, too, didn't mention China

jaishankar quad The Quad foreign ministers in Melbourne | Twitter handle of S. Jaishankar

The foreign ministers’ meeting of Quad members in Melbourne today, ahead of the leaders' summit scheduled for later this year in Japan, reaffirmed the central theme the grouping - one of cooperation and growth in the region. As with Quad meets, this one, too, didn't mention China. The joint statement, however, reaffirmed the group's position on the adherence to international law, reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and added, “including in the South and East China Seas'' while noting the determination to deepen engagement with regional partners ''… to strengthen maritime domain awareness, protect their ability to develop offshore resources, ensure freedom of navigation ...” and promote the safety and security of sea lines of communication.

Sticking to the developments in the region, the joint statement condemned North Korea's destabilising ballistic missile launches in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and reconfirmed the necessity of immediate resolution of the issue of Japanese abductees. The ministers also expressed grave concern about “the crisis in Myanmar'' and called for an early end to violence, the release of all those arbitrarily detained, and unhindered humanitarian access. They called on the Myanmar military regime to implement the ASEAN Five Point Consensus and swiftly return Myanmar to the path of democracy.

The statement said that Quad was strengthening Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) cooperation, noting that the first collaboration in this area went back to 2004, in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. It said that “[we] are proud to be supporting our Tongan partners in their response and recovery efforts following the January 2022 volcano eruption and tsunami”.

The statement emphasises on cyber security collaboration specially with the growing threat of ransomware. On the trade front, they reiterated the opposition to coercive economic policies and practices and said they will urge the world to foster global economic resilience against such actions. They welcomed Australia's proposal to host and Indo Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum in mid-2022 and said they were exploring a track 1.5 dialogue between strategic thinkers of member nations. The joint statement also laid emphasis on the post pandemic recovery, and vaccine partnership and said they looked forward to the delivery of the first batch of Quad-supported vaccines later this year.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, in his address at the meet, said that the robust bilateral relations between member countries and strategic convergences have combined to make Quad a vibrant and substantial framework. He said, “We will continue to support ASEAN partners in their efforts to uphold peace, stability and prosperity in the region.''


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