Politics

Quad eyes expansion as it faces off against China and Russia


“If we allow those principles to be challenged with impunity – even if it’s half the world away in Europe – that will have an impact here [in Australia] as well.”

While the Quad has traditionally been focused on standing up to a rising and more aggressive China, there is growing concern among the four countries that China and Russia are presenting a united front.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a photo in Melbourne ahead of their meeting on Friday.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a photo in Melbourne ahead of their meeting on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week met Chinese President Xi Jinping in person, and the two leaders released a statement saying they “oppose further enlargement of NATO” and called on the organisation to “abandon its ideologised Cold War approaches”.

Of the four Quad countries, India, which was represented by External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the meeting, would be the least prepared to upset Russia given its history of taking a neutral approach when it comes to Moscow.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the “rules and norms that have provided a foundation for our stability, and hence our prosperity, are under pressure, in particular from authoritarian regimes”.

Senator Payne said she had reiterated Australia’s “very deep concerns about the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border”.

“I’ve also reiterated Australia’s strong support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that we will continue to support our allies and partners to deter this sort of aggression and to raise the costs of this kind of behaviour,” she said.

Mr Morrison said the four countries were facing a “very fragile, fragmented and contested world and that is no more accentuated than here in our Indo-Pacific”, but he was reassured to be meeting with like-minded Quad partners.

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“I’m reassured by our perspective, I’m reassured by the understanding that is shared between each of us.”

Japan was represented by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hayashi Yoshimasa, at the meeting.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who also met with Mr Blinken on Friday, said Labor was concerned about the “changed posture of China” and the “need to stand firm in Australia’s interests and in the interests of all of those who hold democratic values dear”.

“I indicated that if we are successful in the election, then I look forward to reacquainting myself with President Biden who I have met on a couple of occasions,” he said.

Mr Albanese said he told Mr Blinken that his party supported the AUKUS agreement with the US and Britain, including the proposal to build nuclear-powered submarines.

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