NEW YORK, 19 February, 2021 (TON): Japan Foreign Ministry stated that China in the four leader meeting agreed on its forceful attempts to change the situation on the seas in the region should be strongly opposed.
On Thursday, India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Foreign Ministers Toshimitsu Motegi of Japan and Marise Payne of Australia participated in the virtual meeting
The Indian and the U.S. made no direct mention of China in the statement, but Japan named China in its statement after the meeting.
Japan's statement was also more forthright in recognizing the challenge to the "international order" from "unilateral attempts to change the status quo" diplomatic speak for aggressive actions.
It said, "Foreign Minister Motegi expressed serious concern with regard to China's Coast Guard Law, and the four Ministers concurred to strongly oppose unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo in the context of the East and the South China Sea."
Last month, the Coast Guard Law passed by Beijing is viewed as a threat to countries in the region, including Japan, which is embroiled in maritime disputes with China as the law permits its forces to destroy structures in areas claimed by it and to fire on vessels in the waters it claims as it's own escalating the danger of clashes a" which has already happened with India on land in the Himalayas.
Without mentioning the name of China, the Indian External Ministry stated, "The ministers emphasized their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, and freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes."
“The ministers agreed to closely coordinate to address the global challenges posed by China," a joint statement issued by Blinken, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian of France and Heiko Maas for Germany after a similar virtual meeting on Thursday were explicit about China.
"They expressed their commitment to cooperate in addressing this challenge, enhancing access to affordable vaccines, medicines, and medical equipment," it added.
The Indo-Pacific region, the focus of the Quad, figured in the discussions with the ministers agreeing to "strengthen cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity," State Department Spokesperson Price said.
The Japanese statement read, "The four ministers concurred on further advancing practical cooperation in various areas towards the realization of a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific', such as quality infrastructure, maritime security, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, education and human resource development."
It added, "They also welcomed proactive efforts by other countries including those in Europe toward a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific'."
Stressing on Myanmar New Delhi said, "In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India."
Japan's statement said that "the four ministers shared the view on the need to recover the democratic regime early" in Myanmar.
Motegi expressed "grave concern" over the existing situation in Myanmar and said that Tokyo wanted the military to stop violence against its citizens and swiftly release State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and others who have been detained.
These statements confirmed their support for ASEAN, the Southeast Asian group of nations including the outlook on Indo-Pacific, its unity, centrality, and regional infrastructure