I joined my counterparts, the US Secretary of State, the Foreign Minister of Japan and the External Affairs Minister of India, on 18 February for the third Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Quad is a key pillar of Australia’s international agenda, bringing together four like-minded democracies committed to respecting and upholding international rules and obligations through positive, practical engagement to protect and support the sovereignty, prosperity and security of the region.
We reaffirmed our commitment to supporting an open, inclusive and resilient region where the rights of all countries are respected and disputes are resolved peacefully, free from coercion, and in accordance with international law.
Underpinning these commitments is our steadfast support for ASEAN centrality and the principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Quad countries work with ASEAN and through ASEAN-led architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit, to advance a stable and prosperous region.
We discussed the increasingly complex strategic challenges facing the region, and the growing pressures on rules, norms and institutions. Despite the significant disruption COVID-19 is causing, we remain focused on responding to these longer term challenges.
We reiterated our commitment to deepen Quad cooperation on regional priorities ranging from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, maritime security, infrastructure, supply chain resilience, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cyber and critical technologies to countering disinformation. We discussed the importance of deepening our cooperation to address climate change. We reiterated our serious concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and affirmed our commitment to its democratic transition.
Ministers agreed we will continue to collaborate at all levels and look forward to regular Quad ministerial meetings.